According to a study in Breastfeeding Medicine, the prevalence of breastfeeding among 3 and 6-month-olds in the low-income population was lower as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For their study, Maria Koleilat and her colleagues examined the data from the 2020 Los Angeles County triennial WIC Survey, which involved the outcomes of breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This study explored breastfeeding outcomes comparing mothers who gave birth before the pandemic (March 2020) with those who gave birth during the pandemic (after March 2020),” the authors emphasized in their findings.
“Although the majority (74.6%) of WIC mothers expressed that the COVID-19 pandemic did not have an influence on their decisions around breastfeeding, the prevalence of any breastfeeding at 3 and 6 months and fully breastfeeding at 1, 3, and 6 months was significantly lower among mothers who gave birth during the pandemic compared with mothers who gave birth before the pandemic,” the authors of the study explained.
Researchers believe that the decline in the breastfeeding rate may be explained by a shift to remote services delivery and a purported reduction in live support of WIC services related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our study shows an association between the pandemic and breastfeeding outcomes among WIC participants but cannot support causality or address the participants’ breastfeeding experiences,” researchers determined.
“More research, particularly qualitative research, is needed to understand the breastfeeding experiences of WIC participants.”