Mothers can breastfeed even with coronavirus, experts say

  • 2 months   ago
Mothers can breastfeed even with coronavirus, experts say

Breastfeeding is effective against infectious diseases, strengthens child's immune system

An awareness campaign has been launched by the Sharjah Child Friendly Office (SCFO) aimed at hospitals, health care providers and mothers, which advises them to continue breastfeeding even if mothers have contracted the coronavirus (Covid-19).

"According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) as well as other organisations such as the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and the International Lactation Consultant Association, limited studies on breastfeeding women with Covid-19 and other coronavirus infections have not detected the virus in breast milk," said Dr Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, executive director of SCFO.

"The pandemic's outbreak has sparked the spreading of a lot of misinformation that can jeopardise people's safety and wellbeing. Keeping in mind how crucial breastfeeding is to a baby's health and development, the SCFO has launched this awareness campaign to provide mothers as well as healthcare providers with the latest and most credible information regarding breastfeeding, breastmilk, and the health and safety of mothers and their babies," she added.

The campaign is supported by the Emirates Public Health Association (EPHA) and comes as part of the SCFO's 'Sharjah Baby and Family Friendly' project.

 

"The WHO has recommended that a mother with Covid-19 continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk while taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant. Breastfeeding is particularly effective against infectious diseases because it strengthens the immune system by directly transferring antibodies from the mother. Hence, we advise mothers to continue breastfeeding their babies, without failing to take standard precautions," said Dr Al Ghazal.

Dr Saif Darwish, community medicine specialist and spokesperson of the EPHA, lauded the SCFO's efforts to correct misinformation that may negatively impact mothers and their infants. "Institutional responsibilities have increased as nations do everything possible to safeguard their citizens from the Covid-19 pandemic. It is their duty to adhere to and implement all measures taken by their governments to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their communities. The EPHA is supporting this campaign to shield mothers and their infants from the possible indirect impacts of the disease."

 

Launched via SCFO's social media platforms (@sharjahbabyfamilyfriendly), and through direct communication with hospitals, health centres and healthcare providers, the information campaign seeks to send out the message that breastfeeding should be promoted, protected and supported during the Covid-19 outbreak - whether the mother is infected or not - while outlining the standard precautions to be taken in such cases.

Mothers must take care not to spread infection through respiratory droplets

A mother with confirmed Covid-19 or who is a symptomatic person-under-investigation for Covid-19 should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast.

When expressing breastmilk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use.

If possible, she should also consider having someone who is not infected to care for and feed the expressed breastmilk to the infant.

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