You may have heard that some babies are being separated from their parent(s) if the parent(s) are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19—yes, even in Massachusetts hospitals! There ARE guidelines for breastfeeding, pumping (and feeding that milk to the baby) and skin to skin…as routine separation of the infant to another room is NOT recommended.
Parents should inform themselves before they get to the hospital (and have a birth doula or family/friend at the ready to replace the birth partner in case that person is excluded from joining the birthing person in the hospital—as apparently even a fever for a non-COVID-19 cause would exclude them from attending the birth and helping during their postpartum stay.
The World Health Organization recommends babies NOT be separated. Here's an excerpt: “Enable mothers and infants to remain together and practice skin-to-skin contact, and rooming-in throughout the day and night, especially straight after birth during establishment of breastfeeding, whether or not the mother or child has suspected, probable, or confirmed COVID-19.”
This is a great article by a local doctor who is well-respected in the world of breastfeeding and lactation:COVID-19: Separating Infected Mothers from Newborns: Weighing the Risks and Benefits
An older but still valuable article by a breastfeeding medicine physician. The Risks of Not Breastfeeding for Mothers and Infants
Another good article you can read is here: The Anti-infective Properties of Human Milk
A local lawyer and parenting rights advocate has developed a waiver you can use in case you want to keep your baby with you and the hospital is fighting your wishes. I strongly consider you learn more about this and share this with anyone else you know who is expecting a baby.
Also see this brand new article: When Separation is not the Answer: Breastfeeding Mothers and Infants affected by COVID‐19
We did FOUR episodes of the Babies in Common Show about the pandemic, so check those out...click here to watch videos or click here to listen to the podcast version of the shows.
And check out Birth Monopoly, an excellent resource for expectant families (pandemic or not).
Click here for the Resources page, which lists birth doulas (but there are also postpartum doulas that can provide virtual support and some are still doing in-person care). These are provided without any compensation to Babies in Common. We just recommend the practitioners on the Resources page as a service to the community, as we believe in the care these folks provide to families!
Questions? Feel free to email Jeanette@babiesincommon.com