Breastfeeding initiation rates maintained during Covid-19 due to increased support
This is brilliant.
To mark World Breastfeeding Week ( August 1-7 ), the Rotunda Hospital has announced that breastfeeding initiation rates were maintained in the hospital during the first six months of 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Data gathered at the end June 2020 reveal that 69 per cent of new mothers-initiated breastfeeding prior to discharge from the hospital, in line with 2019 figures.
In the first three months of the year breastfeeding initiation rates dropped slightly by three per cent to 67 per cent.
However, by the end of June the numbers had stabilised to pre-Covid levels and increased to 71 per cent, up from 70 per cent in 2019.
Commenting on the breastfeeding initiation rates, Prof Fergal Malone, Master of the Rotunda Hospital said:
“At the Rotunda Hospital, we recommend breastfeeding to give babies the best start in life. Unsurprisingly, we noticed breastfeeding rates reduced slightly during the first three months of the year, which we can attribute to a lack of understanding about the Covid-19 virus and how it spreads. We believe that the rise in breastfeeding rates during Q2 can be attributed to an increased awareness of the immune benefits of breastfeeding to ward off infection and the supports systems implemented by the midwifery team early on.”
The hospital attributes the rate of breastfeeding during the pandemic to an increase in community visits, as the Rotunda community midwifery team offered more home visiting to provide support with infant feeding.
To provide this vital support, the midwives operated in a wider catchment area, which included areas north and south of Dublin and in Meath, Louth, and Kildare.
Breastfeeding provides a wide number of benefits for both mum and baby and has been proven to protect children from ear infections, diarrhoea, respiratory infections, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome mortality.
Maternal benefits increase with longer duration of breastfeeding with studies showing reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, reduction in ovarian cancer and association between breastfeeding and reduced maternal depression.
You can find more information on breastfeeding here.