Breastfeeding with Coronavirus
Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a mysterious new family of viruses which has recently taken the world by storm. It has turned into a global health threat and created immense panic in a very short span of time. There is limited information about it available and it is keeping the medical research facilities on their toes, the world over.
It is important to be informed and to be prepared as to what to do in case one has been infected by the particular virus. There are a lot of speculations regarding the treatment and management of the virus which are taking rounds of the internet and other media. it is important that we follow reliable sources and not believe any and everyone.
Coronavirus is deadly and can pose serious health threats especially to the weak and people suffering from low immunity. In case a breastfeeding mother has been detected with coronavirus she must ensure that she does the following:
1) Inform her healthcare giver as well as her baby's pediatrician. It is important that her doctors are in tune with everything she does as it can impact her, her baby as well as others around her. She must make all decisions, especially those related to breastfeeding with both the doctor's consent and also under their guidance and vigilance.
2) Continue to Breastfeed, of course only with the doctor's consent. No traces of the said virus have been detected in the breast milk of infected mothers, therefore with appropriate precautions, the mother can directly breastfeed or pump milk for her infant. In most cases since the baby is always attached to the mother, the baby has already been exposed to the infection, several days before detection, therefore there is no point in removing the baby from the breast at this point. Infected mothers release IgA antibodies which helps the baby fight infection.
3) Take adequate precautions especially in terms of hygiene. Coronavirus spreads through the respiratory tract, therefore it is essential for the mother to wash and sanitize her hands before handling her baby or any other feeding equipment. She may also wear a mask.
4) She must ensure that she has minimal physical contact with her baby as the virus is highly contagious. She can even make someone else feed the expressed milk to her baby.
5) Proper washing and Sterilization of all breastfeeding equipment is mandatory. This includes bottles, nipples, caps,, lids, pups, tubes and other parts and utensils.