Breast milk is the 1st vaccine for your child. Available data shows vertical transmission of the virus is not possible through breast milk. However a positive mother can transmit the virus through respiratory droplets to her baby. Benefits of breastfeeding are reduced if it is not kept exclusive.
Addition of even a single feed of animal or milk powder, and any other food or also water decreases milk secretion and increases chances of infection.
Risk of Covid19 in infant and young children:
Most of the children with COVID19 infection present as asymptotic or present with mild symptoms. Severity is very minimal when compared to other infections like diarrhoea, respiratory infections etc.
The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the risks of infection. Initiate within the first hour when possible. Early initiation helps in transfer of protective antibodies and boosts the child’s immunity.
Updated WHO guidelines:
Lastly, if formula milk has to be used, observe safe and hygienic practices. Resume breastfeeding as soon as possible.
Shwetha Bhatia, Registered Dieteitan, Mind Your Fitness!