We’re over seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic which has only added to the chaos and confusion of motherhood.
The contactless nature of our lives these days makes breastfeeding even harder by impeding the relationships and community support that’s essential to breastfeeding success. Breastfeeding mothers have found themselves looking to online resources for the support they probably would have otherwise found in-person.
The early stages of the pandemic brought much uncertainty
for all aspects of everyday life, including the uncertainty regarding the safety of breastfeeding – especially if a mother became infected with, or came in contact with someone infected, with COVID-19. Longstanding policies that exclude pregnant and lactating women from clinical trials further meant that research on the topic was minimal. Thankfully, there have been several studies throughout these months that help moms and the scientific community to understand the risks associated with breastfeeding in the realm of COVID-19 as a part of our everyday life.
The focus of most research has been around the transmission of coronavirus within the mom and baby dyad.
The best news to come out of these efforts so far is that studies have found no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted via breastmilkfrom mom to baby. The most awe-inspiring news to come out of this research is that scientists are finding Covid-19-fighting antibodies within a high portion of breastmilk from women collected in 2020. Just goes to show how amazing our bodies are!
As a result of this research, the WHO recommends and encourages women to breastfeed
their baby, even if they have COVID-19, because the countless benefits of breastfeeding continue to outweigh the risks. If the mother is too ill to feed at the breast, then they encourage her care providers to support her in expressing milk if she’s able to do so. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, or suspect you may have it, you should consult with your physician about your interest in breastfeeding and follow their guidance about how to proceed.
As a breastfeeding mom, you’ve probably already experienced some pretty stringent guidelines
about how to maintain good hygiene for breastfeeding, particularly when it comes to sterilizing bottles and pump parts. These guidelines can be daunting but become extra important for a mom who is currently infected with COVID-19. Experts recommend good hand and respiratory hygiene, including wearing a mask while feeding, and washing hands before/after holding your baby for these sessions. Equipment should be rinsed with cold water, washed with hot water and soap, then sterilized ideally after every use but at least every 24 hours. It’s important to not be sharing breast pump parts with other women during this time, too.
The next frontier of COVID-19 and breastfeeding research will come
as we embark upon treatments and cures for this virus. It will be important to understand how proven treatments, in the non-lactating population, impact the safety of breastfeeding – with the highest risk likely being transmission of a harmful drug from mom to baby via her breastmilk. If you’re currently receiving treatment for COVID-19 while breastfeeding, be sure to talk to your doctor about safety and protocols for breastfeeding that are associated with your treatment plan.
Overall, the CDC recommends good nutrition
to help cope with the stress associated to the pandemic, citing that certain vitamins and minerals may have effects to work to fight off such infections. Foods are the top choice for getting your nutrition but a busy #momlife makes it even harder to eat a well-rounded nutritious diet. That's why our daily vitamins were designed to give you support to fill in those gaps.