The World Health Organisation says those mothers who are suspected of, or indeed have Covid-19, should continue breastfeeding as its benefits outweigh transmission risks.
In a press release yesterday, the organisation said “Recommendations on mother-infant contact and breastfeeding must be based on a full consideration of not only of the potential risks of Covid-19 infection of the infant but also the possible risks associated with not breastfeeding, the misuse of infant formula milks, as well as the protective effects of skin-to-skin contact. “
But how do we know if their advice is sound after many nations have repeatedly collided with their recommendations?
The WHO said in its defence that researchers reviewed studies that included mothers with suspected or confirmed coronavirus and found that those infants who did contract the virus, it was not sure whether the mother’s breastmilk was the source. The study included 153 cases of mothers with the virus with 46 mothers’ breastmilk being tested. 13 infants tested positive for the virus who were also breastfed by the positively diagnosed mothers.
The WHO further said “in infants, the risk of Covid-19 infection is low, the infection is typically mild or asymptomatic, while the consequences of not breastfeeding and separation between mother and child can be significant,” the review concluded.
Researchers said other infections that breastfeeding protects against pose a much bigger risk to babies and children than the coronavirus.
The WHO also recommends the initiation and continued breastfeeding of infants and young children, this also applies to mothers with suspected or confirmed Covid-19.