Health Day reporter
A study of 55 babies born to COVID-19 mothers found that no one had contracted the virus-even though most people started getting breast milk in the hospital.
Researchers say these findings support existing recommendations from public health authorities.Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that mothers suspected or diagnosed with COVID-19 can continue breast-feeding.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that breast milk is not a “possible source” of the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and that infected mothers can breastfeed as long as they take some preventive measures.
“If you Wash your hands Wearing a mask, there is no reason not to breastfeed,” said Dr. Marcel Yotebieng, an associate professor at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York City.
Yotebieng published an editorial about this new research in the journal on April 13 Pediatrics.
He said that although breastfeeding recommendations already exist, it is important for research to track baby Infections related to breast milk do occur.
Dr. Noah Ofik Shlomay, the lead researcher in charge of the neonatology department at the Hadassah and Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem, said these latest findings do not rule out this possibility.
Shlomai said: “But the possibility of breastmilk transmission is very small.”
In this study, the researchers tracked 55 babies born at the Israeli Medical Center whose mothers tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Soon after delivery, all newborns were negative for infection.
Three-quarters of the babies were breastfed during the hospital stay, and even more children (85%) breastfed after returning home. According to screening tests conducted two to three weeks after discharge, no one had been infected with the coronavirus.
In the early stages of the pandemic, the Jerusalem Hospital adopted a policy of separating newborns from SARS-CoV-2 positive mothers. Therefore, the infants in this study can extract breast milk through a bottle.
But Shlomai said that as long as safety measures such as wearing masks and washing hands are followed, it seems that they are no longer needed.
Yotebieng pointed out that this is also consistent with existing recommendations. Generally, WHO recommends skin contact and breastfeeding of babies immediately after birth-this also applies to mothers with COVID-19.
Yotebieng asked another question: Is it possible for breast milk to provide these babies with antiviral antibodies? Utbeen said the antibodies have been detected in the breast milk of infected women, but it is not clear whether they help protect the baby.
He said: “That’s why we need more research.”
Shlomai said that it seems increasingly clear that the risk of infants contracting COVID-19 through breastfeeding is “very low.”
Uterbion said that any risk must be weighed against the “huge” benefits of breastfeeding.
First, it is believed to support the development of the baby’s immune system. The CDC stated that breastfed babies are less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea, asthma and severe lung infections.
Utbion said: “We should remember that there are other infections besides SARS-CoV-2.”
The World Health Organization has more on COVID-19 and breastfeeding.
Source: Noa Ofek Shlomai, MD, Director of Neonatology, Hadassah and Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.Marcel Yotebieng, Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Public Health, Associate Professor of General Internal Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City Pediatrics, April 13, 2021, online