Breastfeeding in the time of a Health Crisis

Millions of people around the world are now facing a new normal. Schools are canceled. Adults are working from home. And everyone is forced to distance themselves from other family and friends. The effect of the Covid-19 coronavirus has upended our lives tremendously. Now a pandemic, the said disease has made such a big impact and is causing a health crisis all over the world.

Young children, particularly infants, are vulnerable to this disease. And this is no surprise since they are still building up their immune systems. Thanks to the wonders of breastfeeding, a baby becomes resistant to various kinds of infections. The antibodies found in breastmilk help baby fight off viruses and bacteria. The first milk produced by the mother, the colostrum, is loaded with antibodies that provide immunological protection to the baby.

Breastmilk provides optimal nutrition for babies. For children aged 12 months and above, the benefits of extended breastfeeding are countless. This includes a boosted immune system. This immunity lowers the child’s risk of having common infections and upper respiratory illnesses.

Aside from breastmilk being the most ideal source of nutrition for young children. It is also very practical. This quarantine has put a limit on our trips outside the home, which includes our grocery runs. Given that breastmilk is readily available, easily digested, and has complete nutrients, it is truly a blessing in this time of crisis. It is a relief not to have to include formula milk in your long list of stocks needed for the home.

According to the World Health Organization, breastfeeding becomes even more critical during emergencies. With the present health crisis we are facing, breastfeeding becomes an essential tool in protecting our children. We have no idea where this pandemic will take us. Or how long we will have to be on quarantine. But one thing is for sure. Breastfeeding provides the nutrition our young children need.

In addition, it also removes the potential problems of diarrhea-related diseases and undernutrition. The overwhelming benefits it offers ensure that nursing mothers have a lifesaving tool in their hands.

What if the lactating mother is exposed to the virus? Her body will produce milk loaded with antibodies that are specifically developed to fight that virus. Her baby then receives those powerful antibodies through breastmilk which, can help the baby fight and prevent that illness. This is nothing short of amazing!

If you are confirmed or suspected to have the virus, proper hygiene is key as you continue to nurse your baby. Wash hands thoroughly before every feeding and wear a surgical mask. Also, avoid kissing and touching your baby’s face. Keep your surroundings clean by regularly disinfecting common surfaces.

Every mother has been gifted with the ability to nurture and nourish life through breastfeeding. Even with this dreaded disease that is raging the world. The wonders of breastmilk give us a spark of hope that we can, in our own way, protect our children. For that, despite the anxiety that this health crisis brings, there is still something to be grateful for in this time of quarantine: the gift of breastfeeding.

Other related topic: A Journey of a Breastfeeding Mother