The viral load of the novel coronavirus is significantly found in body fluids such as saliva. It was found in the stool samples of infected individuals in China. It was also suspected that the coronavirus in the breast milk of an infected mother can infect the infant. But the World Health Organization (WHO) clarified this misconception based on scientific evidence.
The experts said that there is not a possibility of a mother passing the coronavirus to her child through breastmilk. The breastmilk is highly beneficial for the infants. It is necessary for the development of the immune system of the child. That is why it is doctors recommend giving breastmilk to infants, according to the experts at WHO.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO said that they investigated if a mother can pass coronavirus to her child through breastfeeding. They also studied the risk of transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk.
Tedros addressed a news conference recently in which he discussed this concern of many mothers. He said that the evidence suggests there is a low risk of coronavirus transmission in children. However, infants are at risk of several diseases due to their weak immune response.
Since breastmilk can prevent several diseases and health conditions in infants, it is extremely beneficial. Also, breastfeeding provides such benefits to the infants that the risk of coronavirus transmission to the infant becomes significantly low. It helps increase the immunity of the child against infections.
The senior advisor of the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at WHO, Anshu Banarjee says that there was no evidence of the live virus in the breastmilk. However, the researchers identify some fragments of the virus but they are not infectious. Hence, the infant is safe from the transmission of coronavirus through breastfeeding.
Breast milk contains immune factors that protect the infant from several infections and diseases. A lack of breastmilk to the child to lead to serious health conditions in the future.
A lot of the mothers showed their concern if it is safe for their child to breastfeed during the coronavirus pandemic. Currently, there is no evidence of the presence of coronavirus in breast milk. But the doctors advise new mothers to follow the guidelines to ensure safety during breastfeeding.
The UNICEF Organization suggests following the hygiene practices during breastfeeding. This includes washing hands before and after the mother comes in contact with the infant. Also, the mother should wear a mask to prevent the transmission of coronavirus in infants. Mothers should also ensure regular disinfection of common areas.
Another evidence suggests that the breastmilk contains antibodies of coronavirus if the mother gets infection shortly before childbirth. In this way, the infant will have immunity to coronavirus due to the antibodies present in the milk.
These studies suggest that breastfeeding is safe during the coronavirus pandemic. It is even more beneficial for the infant during Covid-19 as he will need necessary immunity against diseases. Hence, the WHO clarified that mothers should keep breastfeeding without hesitation as there is no coronavirus in breastmilk.