COVID-19: reflections on childbirth and neonatal care in Italy

In Italy, the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 infection has hit with an uneven distribution and, fortunately, in the neonatal setting the virus affects fewer patients and with less severity. Nevertheless, the moment of childbirth has turned into a more complex event for healthcare professionals as we have to work with visors, masks and gowns. The continuously increasing number of COVID-19 cases has also given rise to the need for specific protocols to protect pregnant women and newborn babies.

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Response of UK milk banks to ensure the safety and supply of donor human milk in the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting several challenges to human milk banks and has highlighted a number of vulnerabilities in service provision that have been long known by those who work in the sector. In recent weeks, milk banks across the UK have worked together to understand any risks posed to infants, milk bank staff and volunteers by COVID-19, and to put in place mitigation strategies to ensure the safeguarded provision and safety of donor human milk. The authors call on policymakers to better support these essential services for vulnerable neonates during the COVID-19 pandemic and minimise the impact of future challenges through greater investment in milk bank infrastructure, research and innovation.

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The role of simulation in preparing a response to the COVID-19 pandemic

In response to COVID-19, simulation has been used to embed practical skills such as donning and doffing of personal protective equipment and scenario-based logistics of proposed COVID-19 patient flows. We have developed small staff group training sessions, alongside larger scale multidisciplinary team sessions and used simulation to guide the development of our standard operating procedure. We have also created online training resources to reach a larger number of staff within the neonatal unit (NNU). In this article we share our experiences to help others develop their own ideas on the plethora of ways that simulation can aid a response to the COVID-19 outbreak and any other future advances within the NNU.

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Practical considerations for the emergency delivery of babies from mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19

Maternity and neonatal departments must be prepared for the delivery of babies from COVID-19 positive women. We describe a guideline developed at the North Middlesex University Hospital maternity unit, for multidisciplinary team members attending an emergency caesarean section of mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Anticipated staff actions and personal protective equipment were considered to optimise staff safety and reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2. We recommend units generate individualised guidance suitable to their settings.

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EMBRACE neonatal MRI system: mitigating infection risk in the NICU

Despite the vigilance applied to infection prevention, NICUs are forced to accept unnecessary risks and transport fragile infants out of the controlled environment of the NICU to the radiology department when an MRI is needed. In many cases, this is the only time a baby is moved from the NICU prior to discharge from the hospital.

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Working with parents with seriously ill children and understanding the impact on their mental health

A new report from Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity examining the mental wellbeing of parents caring for a seriously ill baby or child has highlighted that they can often feel traumatised and hopeless. Parents Matter – The Impact on Parents’ Mental Health When a Child has a Life Threatening Illness calls for better access to support for this neglected group of parents, warning that unless it is provided at the right time and in the right way, their feelings of depression, stress and anxiety could escalate into more significant and severe mental health problems.

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COVID-19: the importance of healthcare professionals in protecting human milk and breastfeeding

It is clear that the world will never be the same since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our daily routines and the healthcare system will be forever changed. Nonetheless, families will continue to conceive and bring new lives into the world. Now more than ever, families need access to evidence-based lactation care and support. With social distancing there are both opportunities and risks: opportunities to improve breastfeeding outcomes; risks that families may not be able to access much-needed lactation care or lactation technology.

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Associations Between Variations in Breast Anatomy and Early Breastfeeding Challenges

Mothers with anatomic variability (e.g., shorter, wider nipples; denser areolas) may experience breastfeeding challenges disproportionately.

The aim of this study was to examine whether variations in breast anatomy are associated with risk for early breastfeeding challenges.

Abstract available in Journal of Human Lactation
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Breastfeeding, Human Milk Collection and Containers, and Human Milk Banking: Hot Topics During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a severe and rapidly spreading viral disease that was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO, 2020a) on March 11, 2020. This rapidly evolving disease has highly affected the care of newborns delivered by women with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection. The main issues of concern are (1) breastfeeding during the pandemic; (2) human milk collection and the handling of containers when the dyad (mother–infant) is separated, with mothers expressing their milk; and (3) making donations of human milk to human milk banks. An overview of different strategies with their practical implications is presented.

Abstract available in Journal of Human Lactation
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