Breastfeeding, Breast milk, and COVID-19
Hi mamas! My name is Kara Michael and I’m an occupational therapist and an IBCLC (international board certified lactation consultant). I’m the owner of Best Fed Beginnings, a breastfeeding clinic in Beaumont, TX. We’ve also housed a Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin depot drop off in our office since February 2019. I’m the proud mom to my 5 year old daughter, Natalie and my 3 month old son, Theodore (Teddy).
We, as mothers with babies, are facing unprecedented times with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all trying to do what we think is best for not only ourselves as individuals and families, but for our community as a whole with social distancing and stores closing. It is easy to feel helpless during these times and question how you can both keep your family safe and contribute to the common good and help others in this time of crisis.
Well mamas, I can promise you that breastfeeding, and continuing to breastfeed, is the best thing you can do for your little one and yourself. You are providing invaluable immune benefits to the baby through continued breastfeeding. And you don’t have to worry about getting out to the store to purchase formula.
It is highly encouraged, wording thanks to The Milk Meg:
- If you are breastfeeding, continue breastfeeding.
- If you can pump and have extra milk, pump and donate it.
- If you can delay weaning, delay weaning.
If you are concerned that you have COVID-19 symptoms and you are a breastfeeding mother:
- Wash your hands before touching your baby.
- Wear a face mask, if possible, while feeding baby at the breast.
- Wash your hands before touching pump or bottle parts and clean all parts after each use.
I’d also like to speak specifically to becoming a milk donor and continuing milk drops benefitting the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin during the pandemic. Breastmilk, ie “liquid gold”, is life saving for infants born sick or premature. And infants continue to be born under these circumstances despite the global pandemic. To add to the situation, NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units) may be restricting visitation by families to protect these infants with weakened immune systems. There is an increased need for donor milk at this time!
I’d like to rally behind the Mother’s Milk Bank of Austin and their mission to ensure baby’s have access to life saving breastmilk during these difficult times. There are strategies to continue donating milk while keeping everyone safe and healthy.
These strategies include:
- Having your partner drop your milk at the depot and staying home with the baby.
- Requesting your milk to be picked up from your trunk and not exiting your vehicle.
- Using good hand hygiene when dropping milk including washing your hands for 20 seconds.
- Utilizing Mother’s Milk Bank milk storage containers versus traditional breastmilk storage bags to decrease needing to go to the store.
- Requesting additional milk storage containers be left in a designated area for you to pick-up.
- Calling the depot in advance and scheduling your milk drop so accommodations can be made for you.
- Scheduling your blood work appointment versus dropping in, and getting it as early as possible.
- Requesting to mail your milk in, versus dropping at a milk depot, if possible.
- Consolidate milk to reduce the number of times needed to drop milk.
Mamas, lets #keepboobing and #savebabies together!