With Less Breastfeeding Support, Mothers Are Turning to Online Help - Press "Enter" to skip to content

With Less Breastfeeding Support, Mothers Are Turning to Online Help

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“I’m not really an online person,” Taveras said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, or A.A.P., suggests that women exclusively breastfeed for the first six months, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention less than 50 percent of infants in the United States are exclusively breastfed through three months, and only a quarter are exclusively breastfed through six months.

“What we’ve heard is that many hospitals are just routinely doing separation,” Grummer-Strawn said, referring to the practice of separating mothers from their newborns in the hospital, regardless of whether they had tested positive for the coronavirus — though he acknowledged that things might be getting better now that expert guidance in the United States has changed.

Initially, the A.A.P. had advised temporary separation of newborns from their infected mothers and the C.D.C.’s earliest recommendations seemed somewhat vague, which made it tougher for some new mothers to start breastfeeding.

“In clinical life, this led to some crazy situations, such as mother and infant being separated in the hospital for 48 hours, and then being escorted, isolated from each other, to the front door of the hospital and then placed in the same car to go home to a place where physical distancing was not possible,”said Alison Stuebe, M.D., the president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina.

But the A.A.P.’s latest guidance recommends that mothers with Covid-19 room with their newborns, which allows them to breastfeed, and take precautions to protect their babies from catching the virus. The new policy stemmed from data indicating that the likelihood of getting the virus was similar for infants who were separated from their mothers compared with those who roomed with mothers.

Because of the pandemic, there are some areas, like New York City, where women have been discharged from the hospital faster than they ordinarily would have been after giving birth, potentially resulting in fewer visits with a hospital lactation consultant.

“Moms are really struggling in the fourth trimester,” Dr. Stuebe said. She and her colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offer breastfeeding guidance on their website, NewMomHealth, which they describe as a modern village that aims to change the way America treats new moms.


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