I’ve been working at UCLH since the pandemic began, as an Infant Feeding Support Worker and for the Islington BFN breastfeeding support service.
To begin with, it was really scary – we weren’t using PPE and started to get confirmed cases before we were protected. Luckily, the PPE was distributed quickly, and we started wearing it every day. I have struggled with this as wearing a mask for 11 hours gives me a headache, dry throat and sore lips.
It’s been tough.
It’s also tough because we use our facial expressions a lot when talking to mums face to face. I’ve not been able to show the ‘wide, open mouth’ for the babies or give the mum a reassuring smile.
Supporting mums in the hospital at this difficult time is more important than ever. They have no partner with them on the postnatal ward, so a lot of mums are anxious and upset. Many mums just want to get home and perhaps don’t access as much support as they should after they leave – even though we provide information on how and where to access further help when they get home.
On the plus side, we are able to continue to empower mums to feed their babies independently and they are very appreciative of our support.