World Breastfeeding Week: Expert decodes easy hacks to ace breastfeeding when a mother is Covid positive

Updated on Aug 06, 2021 09:18 AM IST  |  168.4K
   
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Expert decodes easy hacks to ace breastfeeding when a mother is Covid positive
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World Breastfeeding Week occurs from August 1 to August 7. This year, the theme for breastfeeding week is “Protect Breastfeeding: A Shared Responsibility”. 

Breastfeeding is the source for the baby to get nutrition, vitamins, immunity, and antibodies. Breastfeeding has multiple benefits for both the newborn baby and the mother. However, many questions were raised when coronavirus came into the picture and when new mothers started getting covid positive. So, is it safe for the baby to be fed by the mother if she is covid positive? 

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Breastfeeding was the trickiest area for both the newborn baby and the mother. This infection was new at the time, and we still did not know everything about it. After a lot of research, WHO declared that it was safe for a covid positive mother to breastfeed her newborn child, as there was no evidence of vertical transfer of the virus. The benefits that breastmilk provides can outweigh the risk. Although they did give a green signal for women to breastfeed their newborn baby, they also came up with a few suggestions and precautions that they should be taking while breastfeeding their child. 

These precautions as shared by Dr Aruna Savur are listed down below and they must be followed religiously to avoid any risk of unwanted infection being transferred to the infant.

If the mother is covid positive and breastfeeding:

She should continue to breastfeed if possible.

She should wash her hands before and after holding or feeding the baby.

Wear a mask to keep respiratory droplets away.

Avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth of self and the baby. 

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If the mother is expressing her breastmilk:

She should wash her hands before and after expressing/pumping.

Sanitise pumps and surfaces.

Feed the baby with palladia/cup.

If the mother is ill or hospitalized:

Breastfeeding can be done if possible

She can express milk if possible and have a healthy caregiver and feed the baby with all safety precautions.

About the author: Dr Aruna Savur, Consultant Paediatrician and Certified Lactation Expert, Motherhood Hospital Indiranagar, Bangalore.

Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week: Here is everything you need to know about your baby's feeding schedule

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