Breastfeeding And Covid

2020 and 2021 have been and still are unprecedented times. Such a situation is totally uncalled for and is disrupting livelihoods like no other pandemic ever did in the past.

Covid-19 has proven to take its toll on the economical, physical, mental and emotional well-being of this generation.

Women are worried on how it will affect their reproductive health. Many women on fertility treatment are finding it difficult to continue with their regular consultations. Those who are pregnant and nearing term gestation are worried of the infection.

As a consequence, post-partum and breast feeding, is now accompanied with the fear of covid infection.

Doctors are confident that managing a pregnancy, labor and post-partum care with covid is possible, given all the safety protocols are followed. There are no studies proving that the virus transmits via breastmilk.

Even if both the mother and baby are positive for covid-19, it shouldn’t be a cause of worry and is completely treatable, under normal parameters.

The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends women to continue breast-feeding despite being positive, because the side effects of not doing so are much higher than the viral infection as of now.

If a mother is positive for covid-19, and is breast feeding for the first time, she can ensure the following:

  • Ensure that she regularly washes/sanitizes her hands before and after touching her baby and /or any surface or toys.
  • Express milk and feed the baby using a bottle, while holding him/her close to her body
  • Following all the normal breast-feeding protocol while wearing a mask
  • Maintain social distancing
  • If any symptoms persist, immediately take necessary medication and precautions as per the physicians’ guidelines and continue to breast feed without hesitation.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose it safely.
  • If the severity of covid is extremely high, then hospitalization and medical supervision is highly recommended.

The effects of vaccination on pregnant women and on breast feeding women are not yet known. But it is so far not recommended, unless we have more information.

It is important to remember, that childbirth has not stopped due to covid, and medical infrastructure is developing to keep up with the times.

Mothers and women in general, need to support each other, and maintain a healthy state of mind and body, during pregnancy for a healthier post-partum journey.

Bond with the child, respect the child’s needs and of the mother. Given the times it is all the more imperative that we build a stronger support system for the next generation.

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