A quiet home situation and little need to leave the house: 14 percent of new mothers think they have continued breastfeeding for longer due to the corona crisis, according to research by the Nutrition Center.

Relaxation and proper guidance are important when breastfeeding, even when women return to work.

With the survey, which took place from March 2020 to April 2021 among 2,073 mothers between the ages of 18 and 45, the Nutrition Center hoped to gain more information about the influence of the changing situation on breastfeeding.

"You often see in studies that the number of women who breastfeed decreases after the leave period. It can be difficult for some women to pump during or at work," says Lolkje de Vries, spokesperson for the Nutrition Center.

The fact that the corona period provides more rest and relaxation and offers opportunities to work at home for both the woman and her partner is bearing fruit in terms of breastfeeding.

14 percent of women surveyed think they have continued to breastfeed for longer due to the corona crisis.

On average, women have breastfed (partly) for more than fifteen weeks.

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Fewer appointments and help from partner

The women who think they have lasted longer through the lockdown cite as reasons that the partner is more at home (52 percent), fewer obligations or appointments (51 percent) and that they need to feed less in public (50 percent).

"It gives a nice indication of what can make a difference," says De Vries.

"It shows once again that peace and space is very important. The environment, including the employer, can play a decisive role in this."

Lactation expert Patricia Walraven thinks the trend has been going on for some time.

"That people don't go out much, that it's easier to breastfeed directly instead of expressing: that's absolutely true and that certainly contributes. But I think that breastfeeding has been more and longer," she says.

"Not only the health clinic, but also midwives and general practitioners send more quickly to a lactation consultant. And with good guidance it is easier for women to breastfeed."

See also: Long-term breastfeeding useful or unnecessary?

'My son was 7 when he stopped'

More rest and relaxation

"Rest is very important," says Walraven.

"Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy and it is important that you get rest to recover from that. A partner who does some shopping or prepares a snack will help."

Feeding and pumping should also be moments of rest in themselves.

"If the brain is distracted, production decreases. This has to do with the let-down reflex that is controlled from the brain," explains the lactation consultant.

“Be relaxed, relax and don't pump with a computer in front of you.”

Patricia Walraven, lactation consultant

Even when women go back to work and want to continue to breastfeed, Walraven advises to keep this calm during pumping and feeding.

"It's the best-known reason to stop breastfeeding."

The golden tip to keep it up, right?

"Don't stress. Just try to go with the rhythm and flow. Be relaxed, relax and don't pump with a computer in front of you. From the State you are legally entitled to two hours of pumping on an eight-hour working day. Take those hours too."

The Nutrition Center advises women to breastfeed for at least six months, because then the benefits are greatest for newborns.

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