Breast Feeding and COVID-19. Is it safe for newborns?
Given the pandemic we are living in, it is very important to safeguard breastfeeding. To stop breastfeeding in the face of the coronavirus (COVID19) may pose more risk than benefit for both the mother and the newborn.
UNICEF, the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, WHO as well as the CDC report that the virus has not been found in breastmilk, based on the limited studies on women breastfeeding with COVID-19 and other coronavirus infections In addition, they maintain that “breastmilk has many substances that formula milk does not contain to protect babies from many diseases and infections.” They also note that “breastfed babies are less likely to have ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and other bacterial and viral infections, such as meningitis.”
Those mothers who are currently breastfeeding, or have recently started breastfeeding, who do not have symptoms of the disease, can breastfeed their baby normally.
Infected mothers in isolation
Due to limitations in the studies, the current concern is whether an infected mother can transmit the virus through respiratory drops or fomites during breastfeeding. When possible, pumping is recommended when the mother is in isolation due to the actively contagious phase, avoiding direct contact with the baby (it is a very short period of time) since in this situation the mother must be separated from the newborn as well as from the rest of the family that lives in the home. If this is not possible, breastfeeding can be allowed by direct contact with the mother, but taking the appropriate precautions (mask, hand washing …) in an attempt to avoid passing it to the baby.