Published: August 29th, 2023. The Conversation. Authors: Hope Jones and Professor Sinead Brophy, The National Centre for Population Health & Wellbeing Research.
During the pandemic, there had been concerns from healthcare professionals that the restrictions placed on daily life would lead to a disruption in breastfeeding. But our new research shows that the number of women who continued to exclusively breastfeed for six months increased.
And in fact, women were 40% more likely to exclusively breastfeed for six months during COVID than they were before the pandemic or now, post-pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. But the UK has had the lowest breastfeeding rates globally. Only 0.5% of women breastfed their baby until they were one year old in the UK. This is compared to 27% of mothers in the United States, 35% in Norway and 44% in Mexico, who were still breastfeeding after one year.
When COVID hit, there had been concern that the virus could be passed from mothers to babies.