Supporting breastfeeding during Covid-19

15 April 2020

Supporting your wife/partner to breastfeed is a key way that you can help out, and minimise pressure on the NHS, during the Covid-19 crisis. Here are some top tips for how to be helpful.


Antenatal and breastfeeding groups may not be running, but there is a lot of online information and support (aimed at mums) available. Here’s a blog by Save the Children, which has some useful links. Dads who access this information tend to feel more ‘useful’ and prepared. It would be worth taking note of telephone support numbers. 


There is no evidence at this time that Covid-19 can be passed through breastmilk. Therefore, considering the protection that human milk and breastfeeding offers the baby and the minimal role it plays in the transmission of respiratory viruses, it seems sensible to do all we can to continue to promote, protect and support breastfeeding.


How does your partner feel about breastfeeding? How do you feel about it? Have these conversations before baby arrives and discuss what may help while mum is initiating feeding.


Like any new skill, breastfeeding requires practice for both mum and baby. It can help to be realistic and accept that it may take some time to ‘get it’. In the early days it may feel like baby is constantly feeding, and that can be exhausting, Ensure mum rests when she can, and ensure that you take on other care and household tasks. Remember, you will not have a steady stream of visitors and you will be the main supporter.


There are lots of ways that fathers can build their own bond with baby, and the more care you do the stronger the bond. Sit or recline with baby on your bare chest, this triggers a hormonal ‘relaxation and well-being’ response in dads and babies that lasts. Ensure you maintain high standards of hygiene – handwashing, sterilising breast pumps etc


Babies are born communicators. It is best to feed baby before they get really cross about it, Watch for them moving their mouths, turning their heads, clenching their fists. When we respond to their cues, babies learn that their needs will be taken care of and feel more secure.

NB) If a breastfeeding mother is feeling unwell, continuing breastfeeding rather than expressing may be easier and less stressful during this time. Alternatively, you may prefer feed expressed breastmilk to the baby.

Need more help? Our list of useful sources of information and support is here.

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