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For The Record: WHO Says No Coronavirus Found In Breast Milk
  • Moms who are due to give birth soon cannot help but be worried about their and their baby’s health at a time when COVID-19 infections continue to rise. If they have committed to breastfeeding, they might also wonder whether there is a chance that they can pass on the virus to their newborns should they test positive for the disease.

    Pandemic or not, breastfeeding is still the best for babies. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding mothers don’t seem to be passing on the virus to their infants. Based on current evidence, “breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of COVID-19,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a media briefing last June 12, 2020.

    Ghebreyesus said that the organization had carefully investigated the risks of women transmitting COVID-19 to their babies during breastfeeding.

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    “We know that children are at relatively low-risk of COVID-19, but are at high risk of numerous other diseases and conditions that breastfeeding prevents,” the director-general said.

    Because the benefits outweigh the risk, mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 “should be encouraged to initiate and continue breastfeeding and not be separated from their infants, unless the mother is too unwell,” he added.

    Anshu Banerjee, a senior advisor in WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, told Reuters that only “fragments” of the virus had been detected in breast milk, not live virus.

    “So far we have not been able to detect live virus in breast milk,” he said. “So the risk of transmission from mother to child so far has not been established.”

    What other parents are reading

    The Department of Health (DOH) also recommends that breastfeeding mothers who test positive for COVID-19 continue nursing, but should take all necessary preventive measures to protect the baby. This includes wearing a mask while feeding at the breast and washing hands with soap and water before touching the infant.

    If the mom is feeling unwell, the DOH suggests pumping and storing b in a clean container and asking a healthy person to cup feed the baby. Ensure that both the mom and the person who will feed the baby practices hand washing before handling or cleaning any infant feeding or breast pump tools.

    Your liquid gold can protect your baby. Click here for a Pinay nurse's story on why she chose to breastfeed her son despite testing positive for COVID-19.

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