Breastfeeding in times of coronavirus

Lactancia en tiempos de coronavirus

WIC counselor shares the story of a mother with COVID-19 who was able to breastfeed her baby

Mother’s milk contains antibodies that help the baby.

Each and every aspect of our lives have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. From children’s classes, through the new modality of working remotely to services and programs for the community.

The WIC agency is no exception. And while its doors are now open virtually and most services are conducted over the phone or electronically, the agency has managed to continue offering help to thousands of mothers and their babies.

The WIC (Women-Infant-Children) program seeks healthy nutrition for pregnant women, mothers, their children, and their families by offering healthy food coupons, nutrition education, and other resources. The program includes pregnant women, mothers, fathers, grandparents, infants, children up to five years of age, and foster children (Foster Care). In California, the program is administered by the Department of Public Health.

“We are open, but we are not open to the public. We make much of the work on the phone” Explained Nelly Rivera, counselor for the WIC Loving Support program. “Already in December, WIC had started a ‘paperless’ reform, we do almost everything electronically. People receive a card or ‘e-card’ and can register their benefits in this way “, she added in an interview with The opinion.

Rivera and other councilors of the Loving Support program guide, educate, and assist moms in the breastfeeding process. His work begins before the baby arrives in the world, advising mothers on body changes and nutritional needs during pregnancy.

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Breast milk against COVID-19

Rivera shared the story of one of the mothers who participated in the Apoyo Amoroso breastfeeding program. Both she and her husband had coronavirus.

“One of the moms tested positive for COVID-19. When her baby was born, who did not have the virus, the mother did not have the opportunity to carry her in her arms. And although she had to quarantine to avoid infecting the girl and her other children, the doctor recommended that she give her milk to the baby, in order to transmit her antibodies, “he shared.

Breast milk is beneficial for babies because it passes them the mother’s antibodies, strengthening her immune system, thus helping them to fight any disease.

The mother’s sister took care of the baby. The WIC counselors guided the mother and gave her a breast pump so that she can feed the girl, saving her milk and giving it to her sister, while she served her quarantine. Rivera said that currently, mother and daughter are in perfect health.Breastfeeding in times of coronavirus

Worries and anxiety

Among the changes produced by the pandemic, Rivera observed more anxiety and depression among families with young children.

“To the increasing unemployment figures, so do the needs of the community. There are many more participants who are in the need to receive help” He noted. “You can see the concern they feel. For example, there are women who do not know if the hospital is safe to relieve themselves. In the case of new mothers, it is also more difficult because hospitals no longer offer ‘tours’ for future parents to become familiar with the place, as they did before. Hospitals are now stricter ”.

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“Before the pandemic, we were able to see moms more often. We had the opportunity to offer them pamphlets and educational sheets, but now it is a little more difficult, we continue to help by phone ”. Rivera also referred to mothers who have difficulty breastfeeding and need the support of the counselors.

“Now we don’t have the opportunity to see them and help them here, we can’t show them different techniques in person. We guide them by phone and if the situation is very difficult, we refer them to the lactation experts ”.

For more information in Spanish about WIC and its services, or to find the center closest to your home visit:

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