COVID-19 positive moms encouraged to continue breastfeeding

COVID-19 positive moms encouraged to continue breastfeeding

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

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ST JAMES, Jamaica— Acting Parish Nutritionist for Westmoreland, Gladoris Robinson-Reid, is encouraging mothers who have contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19) to continue to breastfeed, but they should take the necessary safety precautions to avoid passing on the virus to their babies.

The advice is in keeping with the recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO) that mothers suspected or confirmed with COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate or continue to breastfeed.

Robinson-Reid said that WHO has found no evidence that the virus can be passed on through lactation.

“The WHO has done its research and has found that in terms of testing for COVID-19, [the virus] has not been found in breast milk. Therefore, it is still going to be beneficial for babies, who have mothers positive with COVID-19, to continue to breastfeed from their mothers,” she said.

Robinson-Reid said breast milk still remains the best source of nutrition for babies and it provides much-needed antibodies to protect them against all kinds of infections, including COVID-19.

“In fact, it is going to be more protective for them. Breast milk has protection in the form of colostrum that has the antibodies, which give the baby that defence. As such, we find that it is more protective even in the face of illness rather than not to give breast milk and maybe have that child undernourished,” she noted.

She said that the recommended safety guidelines for mothers suspected or confirmed with COVID-19 is that they must practise proper respiratory hygiene during feeding. This includes wearing a mask and washing the hands with soap and water before each feed, for at least 20 seconds.

National Breastfeeding Week is observed from September 13-19.


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