Episode 21: Coronavirus, Stress & Breastfeeding with Mercedes Thomas

Coronavirus and breastfeeding. Today we dig into all the nitty gritty details with an amazing professional, Mercedes Thomas.

There are few things happening around here on my side of the mic, I’ve created 2 free lymphatic flow classes. The lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump, and it is moved by movement. I’ve created 2 quick classes to support our immune systems by encouraging lymphatic flow. These can be found under the show notes, and can be passed on to your clients as well, if they are wanting to support their immune systems through movement at home during this time!


I’ve also had to move my in person classes online for the time being. I’m going to be doing a 4 Week Online Strong and Functional Core and Pelvic Floor series starting next week. I don’t offer an intense boot camp style workouts, there are not crunches or pushups in my classes! Rather, it’s a mindful and intentional series of low impact exercises with life style alignment and daily habits to support the optimal engagement of your core and pelvic floor. This class is perfect for anyone dealing with incontinence, diastasis recti, pelvic organ prolapse, general weakness in the pelvic floor and core, feeling weak and unstable in your back, all of these get addresses and supported through this series. 


How are you doing? How are you feeling supporting your new mama clients? Is breastfeeding a topic you’ve had to wrestle out how and what you’re recommending in this new and upside down landscape we find ourselves in? Our guest on the show, Mercedes Thomas is no stranger to understanding and supporting her clients in this field.

Mercedes is mother, wife, board certified pediatric nurse practitioner (CPNP), certified lactation counselor (CLC) and owner of Advanced Practice Wellness, LLC. Her practice specializes in virtual lactation consultations & online maternal child health education. As a new mother Mercedes had to overcome many challenges during the postpartum period related to breastfeeding ranging from her son’s tongue tie diagnosis to being faced with eliminating dairy and soy from her diet due to her son's food intolerances. It's her mission to combine her nursing expertise with her experiences as a mom to support families with evidence-based infant feeding and maternal health education and resources. We had a wonderful conversation about stress, the virus, recommendations and more. She’s relatable and smart and experienced. 


Here is some of what we covered in this episode:

  • Tell us a bit about your back ground and how you came into your current line of work
  • Breastfeeding during a pandemic
  • Juggling navigating how to appropriately respond to the coronavirus had affected every area of our lives, and the initial reaction for many of us has been fear. So it’s no surprise that there is some fear, maybe some misunderstanding, misconception or just not knowing around breastfeeding and the virus. We dive straight into that and talk about how this impacts the breastfeeding relationship.
  • What are the most common fears your are currently hearing about breastfeeding and the coronavirus?
  • Can the virus be transferred via breastmilk?
  • We’re supposed to wash our hands often throughout the day, should there be an extra cleaning step of the breast before and or after a feeding?
  • Breastfeeding and stress and supply
  • There is so much uncertainty and so much we don’t know about the coronavirus, and I deeply respect how Mercedes doesn’t over step her bounds to make definitive statements that we just can’t make at this time, but there is so much we can do to support out clients, advocate for ourselves, and to keep up to date as the information is shifting and updating.


Mercedes compiled a list of resources that are extremely helpful as well as her tip sheet she generalcy complied for us for ourselves and our clients.


In light of COVID-19 and many requests that I receive to discuss the stress that it may have on breastmilk supply I created the "Top 6 tips to help combat low milk supply during stressful times" (Tip sheet for moms or for birth workers to pass on to their clients as informational resource with a side of humor): https://advancedpracticewellness.activehosted.com/f/6

COVID-19 Breastfeeding Guidelines:

     - World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-on-covid-19-pregnancy-childbirth-and-breastfeeding

     - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/maternal-or-infant-illnesses/covid-19-and-breastfeeding.html

DONA COVID-19 & Doula Statement: https://www.dona.org/covid-19-and-doulas/

Listing of State Breastfeeding Coalitions for Advocacy & Networking: http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/coalitions-directory

My website:


Facebook Page

Instagram Page


Mercedes is also the owner of the online store featuring t-shirts, mugs, onesies and decals. The Breastie Brigade Boutique was created to empower all families, professionals and organizations in support of maternal infant health to own the fact that breastfeeding and wellness MATTER! The entire collection can be viewed by visiting: https://teespring.com/stores/breastie-brigade-boutique." 


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I am here. Reach out if you need human connection, via email or social media. I’m sending you love and virtual germ free hugs and encouragement as we navigate this new normal for ourselves and our clients!

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