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24/7

8000177 +201210937777

Australia, Qatar & Egypt

24/7

8000177 +201210937777

Australia, Qatar & Egypt

World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week 2020: August 1st-7th,2020

Information from your doctor Q&A on COVID-19 and breastfeeding

WHO and UNICEF Recommendation for Optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices:

• Early initiation of breastfeeding within one hour of birth.

• Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life.

• Continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond, with the introduction of nutritionally adequate and safe complementary (solid) foods at six months.

• Infants should be breastfed on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night. No bottles, teats or pacifiers should be used.

• Up to what age can a baby stay well nourished by just being breastfed?

Infants should be exclusively breastfed – i.e. receive only breast milk – for the first six months of life. "Exclusive breastfeeding" is defined as giving no other food or drink – not even water – except breast milk. It does, however, allow the infant to receive oral rehydration salts (ORS), drops, and syrups (vitamins, minerals, and medicines).

§  Can COVID-19 be passed through breastfeeding?

Transmission of active COVID-19 (the virus that can cause infection) through breast milk and breastfeeding has not been detected to date. There is no reason to avoid or stop breastfeeding.

• In communities where COVID-19 is prevalent, should mothers breastfeed?

Yes. In all socio-economic settings, breastfeeding improves survival and provides lifelong health and development advantages to newborns and infants. Breastfeeding also improves the health of mothers.

• Following delivery, should a baby still be immediately placed skin-to-skin and breastfed if the mother is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19?

Yes. Immediate and continued skin-to-skin care, including kangaroo mother care, improves the temperature control of newborns and is associated with improved survival among newborn babies. Placing the newborn close to the mother also enables early initiation of breastfeeding which also reduces mortality.

The numerous benefits of skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks of transmission and illness associated with COVID-19.

• Can women with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 breastfeed?

Yes, women with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can breastfeed if they wish to do so, but they should:

  1. Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub especially before touching the baby.
  2. Wear a medical mask during any contact with the baby, including while feeding.
  3. Sneeze or cough into a tissue, then dispose it immediately and wash hands again.
  4. Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces that mothers have touched.

It is important to replace medical masks and dispose them immediately as soon as they become damp. Masks front side should not be reused or touched.

• If a mother confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 does not have a medical face mask, should she still breastfeed?

Yes, breastfeeding unquestionably reduces mortality in newborns and infants and provides numerous lifelong health and brain development advantages to the child. 

Mothers with symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to wear a medical mask, but even if this is not possible, breastfeeding should be continued. Mothers should follow other infection prevention measures, such as washing hands, cleaning surfaces, sneezing, or coughing into a tissue.

Non-medical masks (e.g. home-made or cloth masks) have not been evaluated. Currently, it is not possible to make a recommendation for or against their use.

• I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and I am too unwell to breastfeed my baby directly. What can I do?

 If you are too unwell to breastfeed your baby due to COVID-19 or other complications, you should be supported to safely provide your baby with breast milk in a way possible, available, and acceptable to you. This could include:

  1. Expressing milk.
  2. Donor human milk.
  3. Wet nursing (another woman breastfeeds the child) or infant formula milk with measures to ensure that it is feasible, correctly prepared, safe and sustainable.

• I had confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and was unable to breastfeed, when can I start to breastfeed again?

You can start to breastfeed when you feel well enough to do so. There is no fixed time interval to wait after confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

• I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19, is it safer to give my baby infant formula milk?

No, there are always risks associated with giving infant formula milk to newborns.

• Where can I get more information?

Infants should be exclusively breastfed – i.e. receive only breast milk – for the first six months of life. "Exclusive breastfeeding" is defined as giving no other food or drink – not even water – except breast milk. It does, however, allow the infant to receive oral rehydration salts (ORS), drops, and syrups (vitamins, minerals, and medicines).

• Can COVID-19 be passed through breastfeeding?

Transmission of active COVID-19 (the virus that can cause infection) through breast milk and breastfeeding has not been detected to date. There is no reason to avoid or stop breastfeeding.

• In communities where COVID-19 is prevalent, should mothers breastfeed?

Yes. In all socio-economic settings, breastfeeding improves survival and provides lifelong health and development advantages to newborns and infants. Breastfeeding also improves the health of mothers.

• Following delivery, should a baby still be immediately placed skin-to-skin and breastfed if the mother is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19?

Yes. Immediate and continued skin-to-skin care, including kangaroo mother care, improves the temperature control of newborns and is associated with improved survival among newborn babies. Placing the newborn close to the mother also enables early initiation of breastfeeding which also reduces mortality.

The numerous benefits of skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks of transmission and illness associated with COVID-19.

• Can women with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 breastfeed?

Yes, women with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 can breastfeed if they wish to do so, but they should:

  1. Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub especially before touching the baby.
  2. Wear a medical mask during any contact with the baby, including while feeding.
  3. Sneeze or cough into a tissue, then dispose it immediately and wash hands again.
  4. Routinely clean and disinfect surfaces that mothers have touched.

It is important to replace medical masks and dispose them immediately as soon as they become damp. Masks front side should not be reused or touched.

• If a mother confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 does not have a medical face mask, should she still breastfeed?

Yes, breastfeeding unquestionably reduces mortality in newborns and infants and provides numerous lifelong health and brain development advantages to the child. 

Mothers with symptoms of COVID-19 are advised to wear a medical mask, but even if this is not possible, breastfeeding should be continued. Mothers should follow other infection prevention measures, such as washing hands, cleaning surfaces, sneezing, or coughing into a tissue.

Non-medical masks (e.g. home-made or cloth masks) have not been evaluated. Currently, it is not possible to make a recommendation for or against their use.

• I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and I am too unwell to breastfeed my baby directly. What can I do?

 If you are too unwell to breastfeed your baby due to COVID-19 or other complications, you should be supported to safely provide your baby with breast milk in a way possible, available, and acceptable to you. This could include:

  1. Expressing milk.
  2. Donor human milk.
  3. Wet nursing (another woman breastfeeds the child) or infant formula milk with measures to ensure that it is feasible, correctly prepared, safe and sustainable.

• I had confirmed or suspected COVID-19 and was unable to breastfeed, when can I start to breastfeed again?

You can start to breastfeed when you feel well enough to do so. There is no fixed time interval to wait after confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

• I have confirmed or suspected COVID-19, is it safer to give my baby infant formula milk?

No, there are always risks associated with giving infant formula milk to newborns.

• Where can I get more information?

https://worldbreastfeedingweek.org/

Author: Dr. Shahira Mohyeldin

Author: Dr. Shahira Mohyeldin