COVID-19 Can’t Be Transmitted Through Breastfeeding – WHO
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through an infected nursing mother to her child via breast milk.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants, including infants whose mothers have confirmed or suspected coronavirus infection. As long as an infected mother takes appropriate precautions—outlined below—she can breastfeed her baby. Breast milk contains antibodies and other immunological benefits that can help protect against respiratory diseases.
A growing body of evidence supports the importance of breastfeeding for a child’s growth, development, and health, as well as for helping them avoid obesity and noncommunicable diseases later in life.
In a statement by WHO on its website, nursing mothers are encouraged to continue breastfeeding their babies despite the pandemic.
Researchers are currently testing breast milk from mothers with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
”WHO and UNICEF encourage women to continue to breastfeed during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if they have confirmed or suspected COVID-19”.
“Women with confirmed or suspected infection can, therefore, breastfeed if they wish to do so.”
”The numerous benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks of illness associated with the virus.”
How can the risk be managed?
WHO’s current guidance is that women with COVID-19 can breastfeed if they wish
to do so,but they should take precautions, including:
- Practicing respiratory hygiene during feeding, including wearing a mask covering mouth and nose.
- Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after touching the baby.
- Routinely cleaning and disinfecting surfaces they have touched.
Close contact with the mother and early, exclusive breastfeeding are both things that help babies thrive. So even if a mother has COVID-19, she is encouraged to touch and hold her baby, breastfeed safely with good respiratory hygiene, hold the baby skin-to-skin, and share a room with the child.
In general, WHO recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their infants for the first six months of life. Thereafter, mothers should both breastfeed and give the child nutritious and healthy foods up to the age of two years and even beyond.
What to do if the mother is too ill to breastfeed?
If a mother is too unwell to breastfeed her baby due to COVID-19, she should receive support for safely giving her baby breastmilk via other means, including expressing milk, relactation (the process of resuming breastfeeding after
a period of no breastfeeding or very little breastfeeding), or the use of donor human milk from certified milk banks.
For more information, visit the WHO website: