Abstract| Volume 35, SUPPLEMENT 1, 15, September 2022

Womens experiences on their infant feeding during COVID-19

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      Although breastfeeding is the optimum feeding method for infants, women’s breastfeeding decisions can be influenced during pandemics.


      A descriptive qualitative study with a person-centred approach was used to explore women’s experiences of infant feeding during the COVID-19 pandemic among a group of Australian women. The barriers and enablers were also explored. Fifteen women were interviewed via semi-structured interview. All of the interviews were recorded digitally due to the pandemic. Braun and Clarke framework was used for the thematic analysis.

      Outcome/ Results

      Four main themes were extracted: “social isolation”; “sense of security and support”, “food security”; and “social media”. Due to social isolation, some felt safe and relaxed but many felt lost and unsupported leading to breastfeeding cessation. Feeling safe was mentioned by many participants when they face the COVID safe practices across different places. Food security was a major issue for women who were giving formula as they could not find formula in the shops. Uncertainty with lack of face-to-face support was mentioned when women were managing infant feeding challenges. The main barrier was losing the face-to-face medical visits, family and friends gathering while the main enabler was the support of their partner, online health care professional support and follow up.

      Take Home Message

      Women during the Covid-19 pandemic need extra support and guidance as they leave health care facilities early and often feel isolated and unsure. Food security is an issue for formula fed babies; therefore, women need a person centred care plan prior to birth and discharge from the hospital.