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2020 VGM Breakout Session: Supporting Breastfeeding During the COVID-19 Pandemic

June 24, 2020

Breastfeeding is well-established by all national and global health experts as the optimal form of infant nutrition. The pathogen-specific antibodies in human milk help infants establish a strong immune system and a healthy microbiome. These lifelong health benefits can mitigate the disadvantages of vulnerable situations. During a pandemic, the importance of breastfeeding is even more pronounced. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities continue to recommend that mothers breastfeed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. During times of crisis and emergency, however, vulnerable families are especially at risk of negative outcomes, and may find it more challenging to access appropriate and timely breastfeeding support and help. This session addresses the importance of breastfeeding, and current recommendations for breastfeeding and milk expression during the COVID-19 pandemic. We addressed the role of Healthy Start staff in promoting and supporting breastfeeding during the pandemic, and practical ways to reach out to families during these high-risk and unsettling times. This includes early strategies for getting a great start, engaging partners and family members, and resources for connecting families to needed support.


Cathy Carothers, BLA, IBCLC, FILCA, Co-Director of Every Mother, Inc.