FAQs: Infant feeding guidance
Is it safe to breastfeed?
There is a wealth of evidence that breastfeeding reduces the risk of babies developing infectious disease. Considering the protection that human milk offers the baby and the minimal role it plays in the transmission of other respiratory viruses, it seems sensible to do all we can to continue to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.
Is it safe to have skin-to-skin contact with my baby?
To facilitate breastfeeding and responsiveness, mothers and babies should stay together as much as possible including having skin-to-skin contact.
Can I breastfeed if I have been confirmed with COVID-19?
If you are breastfeeding while infected, there is no current clinical evidence that suggests the virus can be transmitted through breast milk. Infection can be spread to the baby in the same way as anyone in close contact with you. The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the potential risks of transmission of the virus through breast milk or by being in close contact with your child.
Any concerns regarding this can be discussed with your Health Care Professionals, e.g GP, Midwife or Health Visitor.
What additional precautions can I take to limit the spread of COVID-19 to my baby?
- Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds prior to touching your baby, breast pump or bottles.
- Avoid coughing/sneezing on the baby, particularly whilst breastfeeding or in skin-to-skin contact.
- Clean all equipment such as bottles or breast pump thoroughly as per manufacturer’s instructions.
- Consider asking someone who is well (not infected with COVID-19) to give your baby breast milk via a bottle.
- Do not share bottles or breast pumps with anyone else.
How can I access support during the period of isolation?
Midwives are continuing to perform their visits, with the exception of day three, which will be conducted over the telephone. The emergency contact details remain the same. You can contact Labour ward, 24 hours a day with any issues. They will be able to assess your situation and sign post you to the correct professional.
The Infant Feeding Lead Midwife will still be available for specialist issues on 01908 996 402.
Face-to-face consultations will only take place if absolutely necessary and the majority of consultations will take place via NHS social media channels or Zoom facility.
The Virtual Nest (breastfeeding group) will run via Zoom on a Monday morning 10am – 11am for all breastfeeding issues. This can take place more frequently, if the need arises or the support is required.
How can I go back to fully breastfeeding if I have been giving formula?
Seek support from the Midwives or the Infant Feeding Lead Midwife, if required.
Face-to-face contact will be reduced in this period of time but consultation with the Infant Feeding Lead Midwife via Zoom will be available, if required.
Local breastfeeding groups have been temporarily suspended but some are available in an online capacity.
Should I take any special precautions if I am formula feeding my baby?
All parents should continue to adhere to the current guidance on washing and sterilizing equipment. Parents who are formula feeding should do so responsively. This includes paced bottle feeding and limiting the number of people who feed the baby.
How can I access infant formula if the shops are empty?
Due to issues with some parents stockpiling, The British Retail Consortium has asked all major retailers to limit the purchases of infant formula to maximum of four tins per customer (the retailers may vary in their restrictions). Infant formula can also be purchased at pharmacies or corner shops, which appear to have more stock than the main supermarkets.
What do I do if I am unable to get the specific brand of infant formula we are using?
All babies require stage 1 or first milk in the first year of life. If you are unable to obtain your preferred brand of formula, you can use any first formula as they all have very similar nutritional composition. Do not be tempted to use stage 2 or follow on formula for any baby under six months of age.
If you are using a specialist milk e.g anti-reflux or comfort milk but you are unable to access this, you can use first milk or stage 1 formula.
It is important to follow the manufacturers make up guidance for all formula, regardless of the brand. Do not be tempted to use more water to make the formula last longer as this could be dangerous for your baby’s health.
This advice is the current information and may be subject to change, however MKUH will ensure we share the most up to date as the advice changes.