When people are asked to go into quarantine for 14 days if found to be covid-19 positive, then how safe can breastfeeding be right? Well, this is a million dollar question and a relevant one too given that the World Breastfeeding Week is going on.
The layman logic here is pretty simple: if a mother is infected with coronavirus, then it can also be transferred to the child via contact or breast milk. But you will be shocked to know that the World Health Organisation thinks otherwise.
According to the WHO, the benefits of breast milk can outweigh the risk of covid-19
The good news is that the agency suggests that mothers should breastfeed their babies even if they have contracted covid-19, as the benefits outweigh the risks of infection. That’s the power of breast milk.
“WHO recommends that mothers with suspected or confirmed covid-19 should be encouraged the same as all other mothers to initiate or continue breastfeeding,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.
As the world marks breastfeeding awareness week, Tedros said “the many benefits of breastfeeding for newborn babies and children substantially outweigh the potential risks of covid-19 infections”.
Nutrition quotient of breast milk
Breast milk is one of the most nutritious foods you can give to your child. Apart from water it contains proteins, fats, carbs, minerals, iron, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and vitamins like A, C, and D. In fact, according to lactation expert, Archana Wadkar from Motherhood Hospital, Pune, breast milk is the best and the only source of nutrition that keeps the immunity of your baby high and keeps him/her protected from fatal viral infection.
“First milk is very important for the baby as it is the ultimate dose of all the nutrients that will build his/her immunity and empower them to fight all the diseases. So, for at least six months you should breastfeed your child for sure”, she said.
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Even studies back breast milk as the ultimate elixir when it comes to your child’s immunity
A study published in the journal of Frontiers in Immunology suggests that breast milk’s innate immune system is the first line of defense against infection and is activated within minutes, reacting in a nonspecific, preprogrammed, and patterned manner to various infectious or foreign (non-self) stimuli.
Also, we know that coronavirus the respiratory tract and a study published in the journal of Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says that if you breastfeed your child then s/he will stay protected from all kinds of infection that affects respiratory tract and other important organs.
(With inputs from Reuters)