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  • COVID-Positive Mom Says Breastfeeding Saved Her Baby: 'It Is Made For Her And Her Needs'

    She quarantined with her baby and allowed her to "unli-latch" during isolation.
    by Kitty Elicay .
COVID-Positive Mom Says Breastfeeding Saved Her Baby: 'It Is Made For Her And Her Needs'
PHOTO BY courtesy of Lovelinne Ramos
  • One of the things that healthcare workers fear the most is unknowingly passing COVID-19 to their loved ones. It is a nightmare especially for parents who are also frontliners because they have to go on quarantine and be apart from their young kids.

    When Lovelinne Ramos, a nurse working at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center was told she was positive for COVID-19, it felt like her world crumbled. “Despite the safety measures, the inevitable happened,” she wrote in a now viral Facebook post.

    In an interview with SmartParenting.com.ph, Lovelinne shares she started feeling feverish on the first or second week of June. She also had tonsillitis but thought it was just from all the sweets she was eating plus the fact that she was overfatigued from work and caring for and exclusively breastfeeding her then 9-month-old baby, Addie. “I took paracetamol and felt better,” the 34-year-old mom recalls.

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    But after the emergency room in the main building of their hospital got shut down due to multiple employees getting infected and their names were released to the rest of the staff, Lovelinne realized she had been exposed to one of them. She and her husband, Jed Ramos, a government employee, immediately went on home quarantine while waiting for their swab test.

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    “I was so scared,” she shares. “That time, I was feeling ok, no other symptoms and even my tonsillitis was gone.”

    Still, she tested positive. And while she feared for her life, she also could not help but think of her daughter.

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    ‘I won’t leave my baby’

    Lovelinne with her husband Jed and daughter Addie.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Lovelinne Ramos
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    Lovelinne shares that the hospital immediately asked her to go on quarantine in a nearby hotel, but she was adamant to bring Addie with her.

    “I believed that my breast milk would save her, and that my breast milk is perfectly made for her needs.”

    Apart from wanting to continue breastfeeding her daughter, Jed was also still waiting for his test results. “What if he tested positive and I left Addie with him? Mas kawawa ang baby ko kasi wala ako and ‘di siya makaka-latch,” Lovelinne tells Smart Parenting.

    “My heart and my mind says that my baby needs me now more than ever,” she adds. “I believed that my breast milk would save her, and that my breast milk is perfectly made for her needs.”

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    Thankfully, she got the go signal from their chief nurse (who was also a breastfeeding advocate) and their hospital’s neonatologist. “They allowed my baby to direct latch and breastfeed even if I tested positive.”

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    Lovelinne says the first night alone with Addie was the most painful because she was so anxious that her symptoms would manifest, worsen, and that she will eventually die. “I was scared that I won’t be able to see my husband again,” she shares.

    But breastfeeding Addie kept her going. “I continued to practice safety measures like frequent handwashing (plus alcohol) before and after breastfeeding and even before carrying her,” Lovelinne shares. She also wore a mask and boosted her immune system. “I took vitamins, ate nutritious food, drank a lot of fluids, prayed, and didn’t stress too much.”

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    ‘My breast milk saved my baby’

    Lovelinne believes her breast milk sustained Addie during their quarantine and boosted her immune system.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Lovelinne Ramos
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    Despite the unfortunate circumstance surrounding their quarantine, Lovelinne was grateful for the two weeks that she got to share with Addie. “It was like my baby looked at me as if I was her entire world every time she latches on me,” the mom shares. “She felt safe and secure leaning on my body. She was the happiest because it was Addie and nanay time and unli-latch for her.”

    During isolation, Addie never exhibited any symptom. “I carefully monitored her body temperature, poop, and feeding. I even checked her nailbeds and the color of her skin when she cries (to see if she turns blue or cyanotic) but she was perfectly fine,” Lovelinne explains.

    “Lalong lumakas ang paniniwala ko sa breastfeeding.”

    After 14 days of quarantine, Lovelinne and her daughter were finally discharged. She did not need a swab test because according to a memo released by the Department of Health (DOH) - Regional Office VIII, those who are asymptomatic no longer need to get re-swabbed if they were able to complete the 14-day quarantine without any symptoms. They will only be swabbed if they manifested symptoms and have existing co-morbidities.

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    Jed and the other members of their household all tested negative for COVID-19.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Lovelinne Ramos

    “Lalong lumakas ang paniniwala ko sa breastfeeding,” Lovelinne writes on her Facebook account. “I believe my breast milk saved my baby and it helped her immune system.”

    She tells Smart Parenting, “Cliché as it may sound, breastfeeding is the best for babies. Breast milk does wonders — it will give the antibodies, plus the right nutrients that my baby’s body needs. My breast milk is made for her and her needs.”

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    The DOH strongly recommends breastfeeding as long as the mom is wearing a mask and taking all necessary preventive measures to protect the baby. Breast milk is the best source of nutrition and a newborn's first protection against infections. Read more about it here.

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