Lack of policy consideration for breastfeeding co-mothers in maternity services

Greenfield, Mari (2022). Lack of policy consideration for breastfeeding co-mothers in maternity services. British Journal of Midwifery, 30(9) pp. 526–530.



This article reports on two cases of lesbian non-gestational mothers whose breastfeeding intentions were disrupted by the postnatal ward visitor restrictions imposed by NHS trusts during the COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK. One case came to the attention of the author as part of a wider study using an online survey to examine experiences of birth during the first COVID-19 lockdown in April 2020. In the second case, the author was approached by the non-gestational mother for support in her capacity as a doula in April 2021. In both cases, the non-gestational mothers intended to breastfeed their babies and had taken steps to ensure they were lactating, but the heterosexist restrictions for partners in the early postnatal period created complications that impacted their breastfeeding intentions. In the second case, perinatal mental health care for previous birth trauma was also potentially indicated. Both non-gestational mothers also reported that they were not receiving antenatal support to overcome these difficulties, as they were mothers-to-be who were not pregnant.

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