University of Hertfordshire

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Breastfeeding and COVID-19: A discussion of the evidence to support best practice

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Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neonatal Nursing
Publication statusSubmitted - 17 Mar 2021


Breastmilk is lifesaving, providing not only nutrition to the newborn baby but immunologic benefits, both in infancy and childhood and as such is strongly supported by the World Health Organization and all leading health care associations. When the pandemic started just over a year ago, the impact of the restrictions set in place to attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on mothers, babies and the health care workers caring for them, created confusion. Mothers were separated from their babies, prevented from visiting them in neonatal units and health care workers struggled to provide quality care in this new ’normal’ environment, despite clear recommendations to keep mothers and babies together and promote breastfeeding. This review paper focuses on the evidence in support of these recommendations in relation to the following key areas; protective effects during birth, the protective effects of breastmilk and facilitation of maternal bonding and attachment. Breastfeeding in the context of immunity and vaccination practice will also be explored as well as the impact of the pandemic on nurses and midwives caring for mothers and supporting them to breastfeed their babies.

ID: 24870112