Heather Pahl, Jaclyn Johnson
Tishra Beeson (Public Health), Amy Claridge (Family and Consumer Sciences)
This present, ongoing research aims to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted mothers’ intentions to utilize professional lactation support. We also investigated associations between the intentions and certain demographic variables (age, income, race/ethnicity). Quantitative data from online survey responses by pregnant women with an estimated delivery date between April—July 2020 (n=297) was analyzed to identify trends in the intention to utilize lactation support before the pandemic versus during the pandemic, along with demographic variables. Open-ended question responses were analyzed to find key themes in concerns related to lactation support and infant feeding. Our analysis shows that there was a significant decrease in participants’ intentions to use lactation support during the pandemic compared to before. Our analysis did not show that any demographic variables were associated with intentions to use lactation support during the pandemic. The key themes that emerged within the open-text question responses were maternal and child separation, lack of breastfeeding support, and access to infant formula. Further research is needed to understand the reasoning behind the change in intentions to use lactation support so that breastfeeding is facilitated and encouraged during future emergencies.
Keywords: Lactation support, COVID-19, Breastfeeding