Guest Blog By: Leilani Songer
There is no denying the incredible benefits that accompany breastfeeding. Leilani Songer, a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Birth and Postpartum Doula and owner of Breastfeeding Fixers and Leilani’s Wellness Center in San Diego, California gives insight about the topic, especially when considering the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Leilani states, “Unlike formula, breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breast-feeding lowers your babies risk of having asthma or allergies. Babies who are exclusively breast-fed for the first six months without any formula have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and or bouts of diarrhea. Breast milk is perfectly designed for your babies needs at every age and stage. It has the appropriate amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fat. It also provides vitamins, minerals, digestive enzymes and hormones. All of these things create the perfect food. When your baby goes to the breast the saliva enters into the nipple through direct breastfeeding, it then sends a signal to the milk inside the breast of the mother to provide a message that then is generated to formulate exactly what the baby needs for the day or for the age of the baby.
For instance, if the dad came home after missing the mom and the baby all day long and starts kissing on them and then the next day wakes up sick he has already exposed the mom and the baby to whatever virus or illness that he came down with before he even knew he was sick. The baby through his saliva at the breast sent a message to the breast milk to make antibodies to protect him from being sick. Now the baby is better protected because the body was given the correct message and the milk became once again the perfect food. However, if the mom became sick, the baby is actually better protected by staying at the breast than being removed from the breast and bottle-fed. Once again before the mom even knew she was sick the baby was exposed and through the saliva passing through the nipple into the breastmilk was then given a new message of what to do and how to protect the baby and provide all the antibodies that the baby needs. Most babies will experience either no symptom or minimal signs of illness and will recover quickly.
For those of you who are wondering if you can safely breastfeed during the COVID-19 pandemic the answer is YES according to the World Health Organization. Even if the mother has COVID-19 if they wish to. It is recommended by them if you have this infection to
Practice respiratory hygiene during feeding, wearing a mask where available
Wash hands before and after touching the baby
Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces they have touched
If you are too unwell to breastfeed your baby due to the COVID-19 or other complications, you should be supported to safely provide your baby with breastmilk in a way possible, available, and acceptable to you.
This could include:
•Donor human milk”
Please refer to Leilani’s website for more on breastfeeding, and follow her social media @breastfeedingfixers for updates, facts, and success stories.