This year has been a year like no other - how we live our lives has changed drastically, and breastfeeding support is no exception.
When the country locked down, La Leche League (LLL) responded, hosting its first virtual meeting on March 18. Since then, there have been close to 200 meet-ups, almost daily, on a wide variety of platforms. Each virtual meet-up is guided by at least one internationally accredited La Leche League Leader, providing evidence-based, up-to-date information as well as practical support for mothers.
New babies are vulnerable and need support, and so too do new parents. Although they may be determined to breastfeed, it is increasingly difficult for expectant and new parents to know where to access correct information and breastfeeding support. It is normal to have questions and concerns about breastfeeding when it is so new to both baby and you.
With current restrictions limiting access to family and community support, many parents have increased anxiety levels around breastfeeding. LLL aims to empower new parents by continuing to provide accurate breastfeeding information. With all in-person meetings currently suspended, La Leche League Leaders remain available to parents during this time by phone, social media and virtual meet-ups.
During the current pandemic, more parents are choosing breastfeeding to optimise the health of their children. Babies benefit from multiple and diverse immunological proteins, including antibodies, provided in human milk, particularly through direct breastfeeding.
Breastmilk contains numerous live components including immunoglobulins, antiviral factors which help destroy invading pathogens and boost the baby’s own immune system. New research shows that IgA antibodies with reactivity to the Covid-19 virus have been detected in the breastmilk of mothers previously infected with Covid-19.
With over 60 years of breastfeeding experience, LLL encourages and supports all families to establish and sustain breastfeeding. Breastfeeding and pregnant parents can access support during this difficult time of social distancing via phone, Messenger and social media.
“It is nice to have that support at the touch of a button, especially when you feel quite isolated. Advice, tips and encouraging support helps boost our confidence and encourage us as mothers,” says Laoise, LLL member.
They can also virtually attend group meet-ups and connect with other parents in the same situation.
"The online Zoom meetings provide me with a sense of calm and normality, allowing me to be content at home and nurse my baby,” says Áine, LLL member.
La Leche League Kilkenny hold a weekly zoom meet up on Wednesday mornings at 10.30am. This is open to all mum’s to be and breastfeeding mothers, who would like to connect with other breastfeeding mums and our leaders, for a chat or for breastfeeding information. Please contact 086-6627290 for information or on our Facebook page Kilkenny La Leche League.
Details of virtual meetings can be found on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. La Leche League groups are listed on www.lalecheleagueireland.com, Facebook www.facebook.com/lalecheleagueireland, Instagram @lalecheleagueofireland, Twitter @LaLecheIreland.