The study of 55 infants born to mothers with COVID-19 discovered that none contracted the virus — even though most started getting breast milk at the hospital.
Researchers reported the findings help existing information from public health authorities. This past year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can cotinue breastfeeding.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that breast milk is”not a probable source” of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, which contaminated moms can breastfeed as long as they take some precautions.
“Should you wash your hands and then wear a mask, there is no reason you can’t breastfeed,” explained Dr. Marcel Yotebieng, an associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in nyc.
Yotebieng cowrote an editorial published with the new study April 13 from the journal Pediatrics.
He said that although breastfeeding recommendations already exist, it is essential for research to keep tracking whether infant infections related to breast milk do happen.
These most recent findings don’t rule out that possibility, ” said lead researcher Dr. Noa Ofek Shlomai, who heads the neonatal unit at Hadassah and Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem.
“But by breast milk is probably unlikely,” Shlomai explained.
For the study, researchers tracked 55 infants born in the Israeli medical center to mothers who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Every one the newborns tested negative for the infection soon after shipping.
Three-quarters of the infants were given breast milk throughout their hospital stay, and much more — 85 percent — were breastfed after going home. None became infected with the coronavirus, according to screening tests performed two to three weeks after leaving the hospital.
Earlier from the pandemic, the Jerusalem hospital had a policy of separating teenagers from their SARS-CoV-2-positive moms. Owing to that, infants in this study were given pumped breast milk by bottle.
However, Shlomai explained no longer appears necessary, so long as safeguards like mask-wearing and hand-washing are followed.
That is also in accord with present recommendations, Yotebieng noted. In general, the WHO urges skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding soon after a baby is born — which applies to mothers with COVID-19, too.
Yotebieng raised a different question: Is it feasible that breast milk provides these babies with antibodies against the virus? Such antibodies have been found in the breast milk of infected women, Yotebieng said, but it’s unclear whether they help protect infants.
“That’s why we want more research,” he added.
What does look increasingly clear, Shlomai explained, is that the risk of infants contracting COVID-19 via breastfeeding is”quite low.”
And any threat would need to be weighed against the”huge” advantages of breastfeeding, based on Yotebieng.
For one, it is thought to support babies’ immune system development. Breastfed babies are less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea, asthma and acute lung ailments, according to the CDC.
“We ought to remember there are ailments apart from SARS-CoV-2, also,” Yotebieng explained.
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