Myths vs Facts: Is it safe to breastfeed, if infected with COVID-19? Dr Ravneet Joshi answers


oi-Deepika S


Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Aug 07: Breastfeeding not only lays the psychological bonding between the mother and child, it is said to be the first strong shield against any kind of infection and provides life-long benefits.

Dr Ravneet Joshi

The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to 2 years and beyond.

However, there is looming fear among the young lactating women about breastfeeding infants amid the covid pandemic, which has posed a unique challenge.

To allay all the apprehensions, we catch up with Dr Ravneet Joshi M.D (paediatric), IBCLC Lactation consultant Manipal hospital, Bangalore to share insights about Covid 19 vaccination and breastfeeding.

The conversation comes on the occasion of World Breastfeeding Week, celebrated in the first week of August.

Is it safe to Breastfeed if infected with Coronavirus?

Yes, Covid 19 doesn’t get transmitted via breast milk. Lactating mother will be passing antibodies via her breast milk to the baby. So, the baby will be naturally protected against infections and that includes even protection against Covid-19.

How to feed, if you are infected with Covid-19?

Mother can safely feed the baby by using certain precautions. The precautions are wearing a medical mask. She should wash her hands with soap and water before feeding. Or she can use any alcohol-based sanitiser. She should frequently clean the surfaces she is in touch now.

She does not need to clean each time on the breast area unless she coughed on the breast area. If she has coughed on the breast area, then she can clean the breast area with normal water.

If the mother has fever or too tired, she can express the milk and that can be given to the child. U can store this express milk for 2 days in the fridge, so she can do with her convenience.

Breast milk is extremely important during covid, it really, really will protect your child from getting infected. So, please continue breastfeeding. It is liquid cold at this time.

Should breastfeeding women receive the COVID 19 vaccine?

Yes. WHO and government of India recommend that lactating woman CAN receive the covid 19 vaccine. WHO recommends that mothers who are vaccinated with COVID vaccine should continue Breastfeeding their babies.

How to avoid passing on Covid to infants

  • Wash your hands
  • Wear a mask when within 6 feet of your newborn.
  • Keep your newborn more than 6 feet away from you as much as possible.
  • Discuss with your healthcare provider ways to protect your newborn, such as using a physical barrier

Story first published: Saturday, August 7, 2021, 17:57 [IST]

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