Infant Feeding Decisions during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Currently we are facing a deadly Pandemic which at moment has no cure . Evidence from all over suggests that people with better immunity are affected less and fare better.
It is very crucial to know that breastmilk is the normal optimal food for babies and anything else can compromise baby's health. A mother provides immunity to her baby via breastfeeding.
If you are a pregnant person, read and learn about breastfeeding during your pregnancy so that you can take an informed decision about feeding your baby.
With this backgroud, lets learn aboutInfant feeding in times of corona virus Pandemic.
IF YOU ARE EXPECTING A BABY....
Maintain social distancing and careful hand hygiene.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Figure out safe physical activities/ workouts that you can do at home
Many birth professionals are doing online sessions to guide their clients during this social distancing phase, schedule a session.
Practice yoga, meditation etc., whatever is your thing to stay relaxed.
Stay in regular touch with your obstetrician.
Learn about breastfeeding via books, or some trusted online source/ classes. Invest in some good *Online Antenatal Breastfeeding class.
THESE CLASSES/ SESSIONS / WEBSITES should be able to provide you and your partner with information about
Why breastfeeding is important.
How does it protect you and your baby.
What are the recommendations.
What happens if….i.e. have a plan “B” for unexpected situations.
See videos of breastfeeding in different positions…after csec, after VD
Learn about myths and facts
Learn about why Animal milk / powder milk and feeding bottles are not recommended.
Research what kind of breastfeeding support is available around you.
BASED ON WHAT YOU LEARNED, TAKE A DECISION ABOUT YOUR BABY’S FEEDING! Share it with your family and doctor too.
WHEN IN HOSPITAL......
Talk to your doctor about your feeding decisions.
Ensure earliest skin to skin contact with your baby.
Ask for Breastfeeding support if things are not off to best start.
If due to any reason baby is not breastfeeding or is separated from mother, then ..
Start taking out milk from your breast. It’s a skill that needs to be learned, If there is no one who can teach you, look up *hand expression videos on internet and start, continuing to do it every 2-3 hrs. 15-20 mins at each breast.
You can also use a good quality breast pump if you have access to it.
DAY 1 AFTER YOUR BABY HAS ARRIVED....
Babies when kept skin to skin with mother and allowed to feed at breast on demand, mostly do good and are able to feed well.
There is a very simple way to assess if things are going well….
Baby gets up on its own and starts searching for breast every few hours
Baby usually gets satisfied after suckling
Mom does not feel any pain during this process, rather she feels a nice big grab and massage kind of sensation
Baby passes a minimum of 1-2 urine, 1-2 meconium in the 1st 24h
DAY 2 ONWARDS
Mostly things become more comfortable by day 2
Continue doing lots of skin to skin
Continue breastfeeding on demand
Baby’s urine and stool outputs should increase
Newborn babies lose some weight during initial few days after birth (most can lose upto 5-7 percent of birth weight) which they regain in 2nd week of life.
BRINGING YOUR NEW BABY HOME
Maintain careful hand hygiene
Stay at home as much as possible
If you feel that baby is not getting satisfied and /or its painful to breastfeed and/or the outputs are low and /or the weight loss is more, do not panic, reach out urgently to Breastfeeding support people in hospital where you are admitted or reach out for an *online breastfeeding consult
STRUGGLING WITH BREASTFEEDING / BABY ON FORMULA OR ANIMAL MILK.....
Most of the times when babies are needing anything other than their mother’s milk, its due to some challenge with the way baby is suckling at the mother’s breast.
Look at latching videos online to figure out where things are going wrong, Learn how to hand express your breastmilk and supplement with it after direct breastfeeding and seek urgent breastfeeding help.
If you have been a formula feeding mum and want to try breastfeeding or you have weaned off, you can think about Initiating / Re initiating breastfeeding (calledLactation Induction /Relactation)reach out to some skilled Lactation Professional who can help you with this.
Its a good ide to Read up a little about it before you go ahead with your LC appointment.