Excited, nervous, worried: a lot of varied emotions go into being pregnant and giving birth. But during COVID-19, a global pandemic? It’s understandable that those feelings are amplified. Currently, there are 15.5 million global cases of COVID-19. As a result, many people are social distancing and staying at home, worried about keeping themselves and their families safe. But if you’re a new parent, how can you keep your child safe? Is breastfeeding still an option?
According to a new study in The Lancet: Child & Adolescent Health, yes! You can still breastfeed right now. However, if you’re making the choice to do so, there are a few precautions you should follow.
Breastfeeding in the Age of COVID-19
To determine the safety of breastfeeding during a pandemic, researchers analyzed the health of 120 infants and their 116 mothers. At birth, all 116 mothers had diagnosed cases of COVID-19. However, none of the infants were positive for coronavirus. Even within 1-2 weeks of birth, when 79 and 72 babies were tested respectively, there were no cases of infant COVID-19. Further, within 1 month, 53 more infants were tested. Again, none showed symptoms or tested positive.
During this time, mothers were allowed to bond with their babies via skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding. Additionally, the infants slept in the same room. However, the mothers needed to take the following precautions:
- Proper and effective handwashing
- According to the CDC, you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If interested, the CDC also explains when hand washing is needed and after what activities you should engage with this practice.
- Wearing masks
- Cleaning their breasts prior to breastfeeding
- Learning more about controlling infections and viruses
Ultimately, researchers found little impact based on a mother’s COVID-19 status.
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Guidelines
Prior to recent studies, the AAP believed that infants were at extreme risk of contracting COVID-19. As a result, initial guidelines suggested that positive mothers and their infants were separated, and that breastfeeding not be used. Rather, the AAP asked mothers to use formula or pumped milk until their COVID tests came back negative.
However, based on recent data, the AAP is changing their stance. So long as precautions are taken, the AAP agrees with the study findings.
Find the source article here.