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.
- Click here to read Unicef's statement on infant feeding during the Covid 19 outbreak
- Can I breastfeed if I have suspected or confirmed Coronavirus?
You may find this information from Unicef useful: Getting Breastfeeding Off to the Best Start
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.
- Families and Babies Lancashire (covering North, Central, East and West Lancashire). Staffed by Peer Supporters. Call on 01254 722929 (9.30am – 2.30pm 7 days per week). You can also visit the FAB Lancs Breastfeeding Support Facebook Group.
- Blackpool and Fylde Coast Breastfeeding Support. Staffed by Peer Supporters and Lactation Consultants. Visit the Fylde Coast Breastfeeding Support Group Facebook Group.
- South Cumbria Breastfeeding Support. Staffed by Peer Supporter / Lactation Consultant, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or message the Cumbria breastfeeding Facebook group.
- Barnoldswick, Burnley and Colne BFFs. Staffed by peer supporters. Visit the following Facebook groups: Barnoldswick Breastfeeding Facebook group, Burnley Breastfeeding Facebook group, Colne Breastfeeding Facebook group.
- Blackburn with Darwen’s Breast Intentions. Staffed by volunteer Peer Supporters. Visit the Blackburn with Darwen Breast Intentions Facebook group.
- East Lancs NCT Feeding Support. Staffed by Volunteer Peer Supporters and NCT Breastfeeding Counsellors. Email: branch.eastlancashire@NCT.org.uk or visit the East Lancs NCT Facebook group.
Access support from your health visitor
Blackburn with Darwen
- 01254 778900 (one central number)
- 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)
- 0300 247 0040 (one central number)
- South Lakes (Kendal, Windermere, Grange and Kirby Lonsdale): 01539 718155 (one central number)
- Barrow Central team: 01229 404595
- Hindpool team: 01229 471655
- Dalton and Ulverston: 01229 407770
- Millom: 01229 777592
- National Breastfeeding Helpline - 9.30am to 9.30pm, 7 days a week, telephone: 0300 100 0212.
- The Breastfeeding Network Drugs in Breastmilk service for information on medication or medical conditions and breastfeeding – factsheets written by pharmacist Dr Wendy Jones (MBE). View the Breastfeeding Network Drugs in Breastfeeding Factsheets.
- La Leche League Helpline. Call 0345 120 2918.
- NCT Helpline - open every day 8am to midnight. Call 0300 330 0700.
- Lactation Consultants of Great Britain have an interactive map so you can find expert and experienced IBCLC support. Many of our colleagues are using video calls, email and phone support as a priority during the present. (Note: private IBCLC support may incur a fee). Find a Lactation Consultant.
- Breastfeeding Twins and Triplets UK - for families of multiples. Visit the Breastfeeding Twins and Triplets UK Facebook Group.
- Breastfeeding with CMPA and Other Food Allergies – UK Support Group for parents of babies with allergies when breastfeeding. Visit the Breastfeeding with CMPA Facebook Group.
- Breastfeeding Yummy Mummies evidence-based information and support, administrated by a team of qualified breastfeeding peer supporters, health visitors, midwives and IBCLC. Visit the Breastfeeding Yummy Mummies Facebook group.