With the Coronavirus Pandemic at large, health organizations have recommended all of us to stay at home as much as possible, and wash our hands with soap as often as we can to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
As far as we know from WHO & CDC at the moment, Covid-19 is transmitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and the droplets land into the mouths or noses of people who are close by. Many breastfeeding moms however, have been concerned with whether the virus can be transmitted via breast milk.
CDC studies have reported that because of the immunological protections provided to the baby by breastfeeding, the virus has not been detected in breast milk – which makes it safe for nursing moms to continue nursing their baby during the pandemic.
Breastmilk continues to be the best consumption for babies in this time of illness. It will encourage immune system development, and provide your baby with numerous protective factors against infectious diseases.
According to a statement by La Leche League International, if you were infected before giving birth, your body will produce a special antibody to protect your baby. This includes components of the innate and adaptive immune system of the mom known as secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), and other critical immune factors in your breastmilk to protect your nursing baby. This will enhance your baby’s own immune responses to protect them from falling ill.
If you’re a mom and you feel that you’ve been exposed to Covid-19, La Leche League International encourages you to continue breastfeeding your baby (as long as you are physically fit to do so). Research has shown that breastfed babies who were otherwise healthy will remain healthy even when surrounded by other family members that have been infected by the virus.
But of course, it is entirely up to you as the mom to decide what is best for your baby, and whether or not you would want to continue breastfeeding. CDC has also recommended moms who have been infected by Covid-19 to seek professional advice from their healthcare providers and their doctors. Your doctor will be able to provide you with a more informed decision that is best for you and your baby.
In any case, whether you have been suspected, confirmed, or not infected you should all follow good hygiene practices and wash your hands with soap before and after every breastfeeding sessions.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of Covid-19 such as high temperature, shortness of breath, cough and runny nose, seek advice from your doctor via phone before heading to the hospital to get tested.