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Information for breastfeeding mothers

Amid the current pandemic of widespread infection and difficulties in purchasing formula milk, breastfeeding has never been more important for the health and wellbeing of our babies and their mothers.

Current understanding is that COVID-19 cannot be passed via breastmilk. Infection could be spread to the baby in the same way as to anyone in close contact with you. However, the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of the virus through breastmilk or by being in close contact with your child. Therefore guidance is that breastfeeding babies should stay with their mothers and continue to be breastfed.

If a mother is symptomatic then she could wear a mask when handling and feeding baby, and should remember to practise excellent hand hygiene, washing thoroughly with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds after touching face or surfaces and before handling baby.

If mum is feeling too unwell to look after baby, then her milk can be expressed and given to baby by someone else: mirroring the responsive nature of breastfeeding, they should remember to pace-feed by sitting baby upright during the feed, and holding the bottle at an almost horizontal angle so the milk only comes out when your baby sucks.  When baby looks sleepy, stops sucking or moves their head away, they are saying they have had enough.

We know that breastmilk is likely to be part of baby’s best defence against the virus if they do contract it and we know that there are currently shortages of alternative milk for baby, so we hope that this information sheet on breastfeeding support will be useful.

Local support

If you are considering beginning breastfeeding for the first time, aiming to increase breastmilk supply because of formula shortages, or having breastfeeding complications that you’d like some support with, then we’ve put together some information about how to access support.

Face to face breastfeeding peer support groups have been suspended to protect all. Visits from your midwifery and health visiting service will continue to some degree, but may not be undertaken face to face or be reduced going forward.

However, there are many ways to access support and information from a trained peer supporter or lactation consultants within our area and nationwide, during classic ‘working hours’ and also round the clock, which may be of use. These services are available by telephone, via social media groups and in some cases via WhatsApp video call or similar. These arrangements could change daily according to staff availability/staffing, so if your local support is unavailable, please feel free to contact any of the support options below.

We have agreed care pathways across Lancashire and South Cumbria so that if you require more specialist support, those delivering the below services can refer you onto it.

Access support from your health visitor

Blackburn with Darwen 

Blackpool

  • Moor Park Primary Care Centre (North Far North Team): 01253 956567
  • Whitegate Primary Care Centre (Central West Team): 01253 951694
  • Newton Drive Primary Care Centre (Central East Team): 01253 957434
  • South Shore Primary Care Centre (Central South Team and South Team): 01253 951641

Lancashire (North, Central, West and East)

South Cumbria

National support

Online support

Support in other languages

Information sources for health professionals