A guest-post from Casey Ann Beck
Like most of you, I’ve been glued to the news over the past six weeks as COVID-19 has continued its global spread. What went from witnessing the virus’s impact on countries across the world very quickly morphed into worrying about my own community in the blink of an eye. As a mother of three young children, my initial concern was protecting my family; we have been following social distancing measures, washing hands to the point of rawness, and monitoring where the little ones stick their fingers all day long. Groceries are being delivered and promptly wiped down, makeshift masks are being worn outdoors, and some semblance of homeschooling has commenced. The days seem to last forever.
When I finally sit down in the rocking chair in my baby’s nursery after the bedtime routine, I take a deep breath, cuddle him close, sniff his freshly washed head, and…worry some more. What about breastfeeding a baby during a pandemic? Do I need to stop? Should I pump and have someone else bottle feed him?
According to the World Health Organization, “Breastfeeding protects newborns from getting sick and also helps protect them throughout their infancy and childhood. Breastfeeding is particularly effective against infectious diseases because it strengthens the immune system by directly transferring antibodies from the mother.” The Center for Disease Control echoes the sentiment that breast milk not only provides the best source of nutrition for most infants it also protects against many illnesses. For me, this was enough confirmation that I should continue nursing my baby as often as he needs.
“I was in the process of weaning my 18-month old when the pandemic hit our area,” current board member and former client, Courtney D’Avella shares, “My daughter and I happily began nursing more regularly again, and I feel great knowing she reaps the immunity boosting benefits during this critical time.”
Thankfully, as an essential business in the State of Pennsylvania, the Breastfeeding Resource Center remains open and its IBCLCs are available for consultations; they are operating on the front lines to continue helping families feed their babies—nothing is more essential or life-saving. The BRC’s IBCLCs are available for both in-person consultations and virtual appointments via a HIPAA compliant portal. Additionally, the BRC’s Community Counselors are available over the phone to answer any questions, and support groups continue via videoconferencing to honor the state’s recommended social distancing guidelines and protect clients.
If you have additional questions about breastfeeding or would like to set up an appointment or be assigned a Community Counselor, please call the BRC at 215-886-2433.