Emergency and disaster response strategies to support mother-infant dyads during COVID-19

Felipe Aros-Vera*, Ilana R.Azulay Chertok, Semyon Melnikov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an unprecedented global health crisis. Vulnerable populations, such as breastfeeding mother-infant dyads, are in a particularly delicate situation. Before, during, and after birth mothers and their infants could be exposed to the virus. Due to fear of infection transmission, there has been an increase in separation of COVID-positive mothers and their infants and a decline in breastfeeding, despite research supporting the provision of mother's milk for her infant. During this crisis, evidence-based education counseling and resources can support healthful infant feeding which is necessary for short- and long-term infant growth and development. Using a framework of disaster preparedness and response, we delineate operational guidelines and policy recommendations to support maternal-infant dyads during the COVID pandemic outbreak. Key recommendations include promotion of breastfeeding and milk expression, avoiding the use of formula, engaging healthcare providers in supporting lactation, and incorporating evidence-based breastfeeding and lactation protocols and practices in disaster preparedness and disaster response plans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102532
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Breastfeeding
  • COVID-19
  • Disaster preparedness and response
  • Maternal-infant dyads


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