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As is well known, breast milk has multiple benefits for both the baby and the mother and more if it is offered exclusively for at least the first 6 months of life, as recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization) and UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund) and from 6 months to a year it is offered together with complementary feeding and extends to 2 years or more, according to the decision of the mother and child binomial. Having said all this, an important question could arise: If a mother becomes infected with a microorganism, in this case the coronavirus (Covid-19), can she continue to breastfeed? Not only can it but it must, and that is Breastfeeding protects the baby and the mother from the coronavirus.
It is scientifically proven that breast milk is a living, intelligent and very complex liquid, capable of modifying its components according to the age of the baby, its nutritional needs, the quality of the mother's diet and the state of health of both the baby. mother and child.
One of those important components is immunoglobulins, IgM and IgG and mainly, high amounts of secretory Ig A, which confers immunity to the infant and allows him to defend himself against microorganisms that may attack him. In turn, he strengthens his own immune system, creating his own antibodies, which indicates that there is a strong immune link between the mother and her child.
On the other hand, another component secreted by breast milk and responsible for conferring immunity in the newborn is lactoferrin, which will enhance the immune system until it becomes competent.
As we already know, Covid-19 is a new strain of coronavirus, discovered in December of last year (2,019) in Wuhan, China, which has been highly contagious, since it is transferred not only from animals to humans, but also from humans to humans through mucosa and respiratory tract.
If a mother is infected during pregnancy, colostrum, which is the first breast milk that the newborn receives, will be much richer in immunoglobulins, especially of the secretory IgA type and other immunological factors. This fact will allow the protection of the baby against exposure to the virus and, at the same time, will boost its own immune system more quickly against the possible infection of this virus or any other microorganism.
The same will happen if the mother contracts the virus during breastfeeding. The protection that breast milk will give you will be greater than the probability of being infected. In addition, according to the WHO and UNICEF, the Covid-19 virus has not been detected in breast milk, nor was SARS-CoV detected in its time (CDC 2020/02/19), that is, the risk of contagion of the baby through breastfeeding is very low.
So, Breastfeeding should not be stopped if the mother is infected with Covid-19 and even less if the rest of the family probably is also, since the baby would be more vulnerable to contracting it than if he continues to breastfeed.
1. The mother or any person in the family at the slightest symptom or suspicion of coronavirus go to the doctor to discard the virus.
2. The mother must wear N95 mask preferably and all those infected (adequate protection).
3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 to 30 seconds. And, as they say from the General Council of Pharmaceutical Colleges in their report 'Coronavirus: COVID-19', washing your hands regularly throughout the day is one of the most important measures to avoid contagion.
4. If the mother is very sick and feels very bad to breastfeed, she can expressing milk and offering it to your baby, preferably in a glass, syringe or spoon bottle, to avoid teat / nipple confusion syndrome. And in this way it also prevents breast engorgement or mastitis.
5. The baby should be taken to pediatric consultation in case of any symptoms such as cough, runny nose, fever, frequent crying, refusal of food or any other positive symptoms of the disease.
6. The mother should stay well hydrated and with a healthy and balanced diet, abundant above all in fruits and vegetables.
7. And to remember: do not stop breastfeeding.
You can read more articles similar to Breastfeeding protects the baby and the mother from the coronavirus, in the category of On-site Breastfeeding.