Breastfeeding in a COVID-19 world

Vanessa Sakalidis, Sharon Perrella, Stuart Prosser, Donna Geddes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose of review
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has changed the birthing and postnatal experience of women. This review highlights how policy changes have affected pregnant and breastfeeding women, the evidence for continued breastfeeding and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-
2) vaccines, and how the pandemic’s unexpected consequences have affected these women’s wellbeing. Additionally, we postulate the future of lactation and perinatal support as the pandemic continues.
Recent findings
Women who have given birth during the pandemic have had restricted access to postnatal care. Although pregnant and breastfeeding women who contract SARS-CoV-2 are more vulnerable to poor health outcomes than their nonpregnant counterparts, they are also at higher risk of mental health difficulties, with
limited access to support. Continued breastfeeding may be protective to the infant, offering passive immunity against SARS-CoV-2, and vaccination against COVID-19 is safe and effective for pregnant and lactating women. Innovative and adaptable lactation care, including holistic perinatal, mental health, and
social support services, both digital and in-person, will help mothers continue breastfeeding during future outbreaks.
Summary
Continued breastfeeding and vaccination may confer protection to the infant against SARS-CoV-2 infection. New mothers should not be isolated in future pandemics. Prioritizing lactation and perinatal care, including in-person services, remains paramount to optimizing breastfeeding during COVID-19.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Volume25
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2022

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