Patients & Visitors

Maternity

Postnatal Care and COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Breastfeeding

There is no evidence showing that the virus can be carried in breastmilk, the well-recognised benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk.

The main risk of breastfeeding is close contact between you and your baby, as if you cough or sneeze, this could contain droplets which are infected with the virus, leading to infection of the baby after birth.

A discussion about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding should take place between you and your family and your maternity team.

This guidance may change as knowledge evolves.

When you or anyone else feeds your baby, the following precautions are recommended:

  • Wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles
  • Try to avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding at the breast
  • Consider wearing a face mask while breastfeeding, if available
  • Follow recommendations for pump cleaning after each use
  • Consider asking someone who is well to feed your expressed breast milk to your baby

Formula feeding of babies

If you are feeding your baby with baby formula milk it is important that formula milk is prepared as directed on the manufacturer's instructions and is not watered down as this will result in your baby not receiving the adequate nutrients required for health.

It is also important that the correct stage baby milk is used for your baby e.g. First Infant formula (Stage 1 milk). Follow on formula milk should never be used for babies under 6 months and they can continue to have First Milk up the age of one year as part of their diet.

If you have any problems obtaining formula milk, try shopping around smaller shops if you can't find it in your usual supermarket. The manufacturers are still distributing regular supplies to shops and increasing production.

Emotional health and wellbeing

It is understandable to feel more anxious and stressed than usual in times like these and it's a big adjustment to stay inside all day. It's important to look after yourself whilst you stay at home, and in particular to look after your mental health.

Taking active steps to stay healthy and well will help you manage anxiety and help you feel more in control. Try to:

  • Stay active as best you can
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Don't smoke or drink alcohol
  • Eat well
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Establish regular sleep habits

Coping with a crying baby

During this challenging time stress levels at home may be increased and it is important to find ways to cope with a crying baby. Infant crying is normal, and it will stop! Babies start to cry more frequently from around 2 weeks of age. After about 8 weeks of ages babies start to cry less each week. It's okay to walk away if you have checked if baby is safe and the crying is getting to you.

Never, ever shake or hurt your baby - it can cause lasting brain damage or death

Follow the ICON guidance for coping with crying:

I - Infant crying is normal
C - Comforting methods can help
O - It's OK to walk away
N - Never, ever shake your baby

Support for Dads

DadPad is a guide for new dads, developed with the NHS. This resource supports Dads and their partners to give your baby the best possible start in life. The DadPad supports dads to get involved and gain confidence which can help reduce anxiety.

You can find out more here and download the DadPad app:


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