With Ireland in a state of lockdown due to the pandemic and most European nations implementing restrictions of their own, one positive side effect of staying at home has been that the number of mothers breastfeeding their baby has nearly doubled in Ireland. Natural breastfeeding has many benefits for both mother and baby, but it can be made more efficient and less time-consuming with quality breast pumps that improve milk flow for the baby’s health too.

A survey examined by the Irish Independent reveals that 26 per cent of mothers now breastfeed their baby all the way until the weaning stage, compared to 15 per cent before the pandemic. From 801 surveyed mothers of babies under two years of age in Ireland, 48 per cent of respondents expressed a desire to breastfeed until the weaning stage. Although about half only live up to this commitment, the jump is noticeable and will likely only continue to grow as Ireland imposes lockdowns on residents, thus keeping mothers at home.

baby's orange knit cap

Photo by Jan Kapriva via Unsplash

Benefits of Natural Breastfeeding

As many mothers know, store-bought baby formula can cost a pretty penny and put a strain on already tight budgets due to the economic situation. Natural breastfeeding can be time-consuming in our busy, busy lives, but the lockdown now presents a good opportunity for mothers to spend more time bonding with their baby.

In the survey, 86 percent of mothers and expectant mothers intend to breastfeed their baby in order to give them the best possible start in life. The remaining 12 per cent and 2 per cent will breastfeed to better bond with their baby and for convenience, respectively.

Easier Said Than Done

For all of human history until the past century, natural breastfeeding was the only way to feed and nourish our youngest, but alternatives such as powdered infant milk have really made an impact on society. 55 percent of mothers have admitted difficulty with performing natural breastfeeding upon returning home from the hospital, so it’s much easier said than done for over half of Irish mothers.

Interestingly, 59 percent of mothers have had to look up how to breastfeed online (YouTube videos, tutorials) whereas 45 percent have retained the services of lactation consultants. Either way, learning how to naturally breastfeed can be time-consuming and/or costly.

Furthermore, survey respondents reported the following:

  • 41 percent experienced pain whilst breastfeeding;
  • 39 percent experienced difficulties with the baby latching properly;
  • 25 percent had difficulty transitioning to breastfeeding after a difficult birth;
  • 15 percent experienced a breast milk delay or have poor milk supply.

No matter how one looks at the results, the difficulties that natural breastfeeding present are significant and affect hundreds of thousands of mothers in Ireland. If this information was relevant pre-pandemic, there’s no doubt that the effects of the lockdown have exacerbated many of these common problems.

Effects of the Lockdown on Breastfeeding

grayscale photo of woman carrying a baby

Photo by Jordan Whitt via Unsplash

The lockdown has had profound impacts on nearly everything in our daily lives, and it’s certainly affected how mothers breastfeed their children. Considering the difficulties that mothers face with breastfeeding, in a normal world they’d likely look to visiting healthcare providers or visiting consultants to assist. Since the times we’re in are far from normal, many options like visiting a lactation consultant for breast feeding support simply are no longer available in-person as everything has moved online.

Fundamentally, strict lockdown measures prevent many mothers from accessing the quality healthcare and attending breastfeeding groups with their communities in-person, so mothers should be looking for viable alternatives. How can mothers improve the quality of natural milk at home without the pain and discomfort that accompany natural breastfeeding?

Breast Pumps Can Help Women Improve Milk Flow

Women stuck at home during the lockdown have options when it comes to natural breastfeeding. Hospital Grade Breast Pumps have been around for quite awhile, but they’re making life just so much easier for mothers and expectant mothers who plan to breastfeed naturally. Not only do breast pumps better express milk from the mother’s breast(s), but they also greatly reduce the burdens and difficulties that many mothers experience whilst breastfeeding.

‘Hospital grade’ is important to differentiate from consumer breast pumps. Products like the Ameda Elite Double Breast Pump and the  Ameda Finesse Breast Pump available for rent and purchase by O’Flynn Medical are hospital-grade, meaning that they’re exactly what you’d expect to find in a hospital and have superior suction abilities. Hospital Grade electric pumps are made to a higher quality standard. If you’re an expectant or new mother looking for a better way to breastfeed your beloved baby, consider the comfort and convenience of a high quality electric breast pump from O’Flynn Medical.