Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on breastfeeding in Israel: a cross- sectional, observational survey

Moran Blaychfeld Magnazi, Gaya Sartena, Michal Goldberg, Deena Zimmerman, Einat Ophir, Ravit Baruch, Rebecca Goldsmith, Ronit Endevelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Since March 2020, the world has been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. One group particularly affected were mothers of newborns. The Israeli government imposed three lockdowns, with the first from 14 March to 11 May 2020. It had the strictest rules, with effects among mothers including panic and stress. These mothers coped with new challenges as they were often without help from the extended family, could not meet lactation counsellors in person, and stayed longer on maternity leave. Methods: A cross-sectional, observational study collected data via an online anonymous survey in Israel. From 27 April 2020 to 11 May 2020, the survey was distributed through Facebook groups for breastfeeding mothers. It contained 32 multiple choice and 10 open questions. Multivariate logistic regression analysis, with adjustment for potential factors, was performed to determine the pandemic-related factors influencing breastfeeding, including the decision to breastfeed longer than planned. Results: Five hundred eighty women participated in the survey. Most mothers were over 30, (mean age 32.55), married with an academic degree (81.5%). 127 (22%) women reported changes in their lactation plans. 85 (15%) responded that due to the COVID -19 pandemic they extended their breastfeeding period and 42 (7%) reported shortening it. A significant relationship was found between this extension and returning to work later than expected adjusted OR = 2.38 95% CI 1.46,3.87). When asked to rank steps national health authorities should take to encourage breastfeeding, the highest agreement (96%) was with maternity leave extension. More than 90% believed that receiving breastfeeding counselling at home and/or in hospital will encourage breastfeeding. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that most women did not change their breastfeeding patterns because of the lockdown though some did experience difficulties. Some lengthened their breastfeeding period, as, due to the pandemic, they stayed home longer than expected. This finding should be considered for future emergency situations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
JournalInternational Breastfeeding Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 26 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Breastfeeding
  • COVID-19
  • Lactation
  • Lockdowns
  • Mothers
  • Newborns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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