Tips for breastfeeding babies during the spread of COVID-19

Tips for breastfeeding babies during the spread of COVID-19 Tips for breastfeeding babies during the spread of COVID-19 Tips for breastfeeding babies during the spread of COVID-19

How to breastfeed babies during the spread of COVID-19

During the ongoing outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, many mothers are worried about breastfeeding. What should we do if a mother is infected with COVID-19 or if she has to be vaccinated, will she still be able to breastfeed? What can she do to help her baby stay healthy and not get infected with the virus easily? Because there has not yet been no vaccine to help prevent infection for young children.

Suggestions on how to breastfeed babies during the pandemic

            The World Health Organization and experts recommended that all mothers should breastfeed. Even during the COVID-19 outbreak, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 infection through breastfeeding. Antibodies to COVID-19 have also been reported in breast milk of mothers previously infected by COVID-19, but the data is insufficient to conclude that it can protect children from the virus.

            Breast milk also contains substances that help strengthen the immune system of the baby. Therefore, babies younger than 6 months should be exclusively breastfed while the baby over 6 months old should be fed with mother's milk along with the age-appropriate supplementation.

If the mother is infected or suspected to be infected with COVID-19

1.          If the symptoms are not severe, mothers can breastfeed normally, but they must strictly follow some rules to prevent the viral spread. Mothers should wear a mask at all times, wash hands properly with soap and water, or use 70% alcohol and do not use their hands to touch the face, nose or mouth, including kissing the baby's cheek;

2.          If mothers have severe symptoms like high fever or severe cough but are still able to store milk, they should squeeze or pump milk and let the father or someone in the house feed the baby instead. Regularly squeezing or pumping milk will help mothers’ body stay in the production of milk, making it possible to return to breastfeeding the baby once she gets recovered; and

3.          If mothers are so ill that they cannot squeeze or store the breast milk. Infant formula powder milk may be given to the baby until they are better and return to normal breastfeeding.

Moreover, mothers should clean all surfaces that they come into contact with with 70% alcohol. They should carry a handkerchief or a tissue paper to cover their mouth when sneezing. After that, the papers have to be discarded and properly destroyed. It is also a good idea to wash the breast pump, container and feeding devices after use.

If babies get infected with COVID-19, mothers are allowed to breastfeed the baby normally because breast milk helps strengthen the immune system of the body of babies, and the immune system in mothers’ body can be passed on to the babies through breast milk, helping them to fight diseases. However, mothers must wear a face mask all the time when breastfeeding.

            In case mothers are vaccinated, they can breastfeed the baby regularly.

The best protection against COVID-19 for babies

            Mothers and people surround them should be provided special care since little children usually get infected from people close to them. Mothers should therefore maintain good health. They should not go to any disease prone areas. If adults are outside working, they must use a face mask at all time, avoid eating with others and get complete vaccination.

Thank you for information from Piyarat Ann Lertbannaphong, M.D., a specialist pediatrician.


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