According to a recent study conducted by researchers of NY- Presbyterian Children’s Hospital and Columbia University, it is not common for Covid-19 to spread from a mother to her offspring. This study refutes the earlier belief that newborn should be separated from mothers who are Covid-19 positive and therefore kept away from breastfeeding as a means of spreading the spread of virus to newborn babies.
The study was published online today in JAMA Pediatrics.
Covid-19 has brought with it a fear among new mothers regarding the possibility of infecting their offspring. Basic hygiene measures such as frequently disinfecting the hands and any or all surfaces which a person touches more can lead to control of spread of virus.
Same measures can be used by mothers for their newborn while holding them or feeding them. Hand sanitization and breast hygiene before and after feeding, wearing a mask during nursing, and ensuring general cleanliness of the surroundings of newborn can help reduce the chances of spreading Covid-19 to them.
Mothers can still #breastfeed even if they have COVID-19. #Breastfeeding continues to be recommended when possible, as its many nutritional and health benefits are considered to far outweigh any risks. For more tips:https://t.co/5UgbXboAL8#BreastfeedingWeek pic.twitter.com/wrwNbysALa
— Dr. Theresa Tam (@CPHO_Canada) October 5, 2020
Researchers believe that if active measures are taken such as wearing a mask and ensuring proper hand and breast hygiene then there is no harm if Covid-19 positive mothers nurse their offspring. Mothers who are following these measures have successfully prevented their offspring from becoming infected as confirmed by a leading Women’s Health expert.
Healthcare workers at NY- Presbyterian Children’s Hospital have carefully examined more than 100 cases of Covid-19 mothers who gave birth and they have applied basic strategies such as ensuring that the mother, newborn, and their care takers wear mask all the time, maintain a fair distance from each other and isolate the Covid-19 positive mother in private rooms.
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— UNFPA GCC Office (@UNFPAGCC) March 30, 2020
They have also reduced the duration of stay of all new mothers at NY- Presbyterian Children’s Hospital in a bid to reduce the chance of spread of infection in their health facility.
These measures taken by the staff of NY- Presbyterian Children’s Hospital did not isolate the Covid-19 positive mothers from their newborns. The devised a strategy to shift the newborns to same room as their mothers’ and then encouraged breastfeeding by the mother with all active preventive measures in place such as wearing mask, ensuring hygiene, and social distancing between mother’s bed and baby’s crib.
Experts believe that Covid-19 as a pandemic has affected the health of all human beings and it cannot be allowed to take away the chance of bonding between mother and her offspring which happens via skin to skin contact and most importantly breastfeeding.
American Idol Alum Casey Goode's Newborn Son Tests Positive for COVID-19: 'Please Send Good Energy' https://t.co/RntUfcqyb1
— People (@people) October 4, 2020
At NY- Presbyterian Children’s Hospital with all measures in place only 2% newborns tested positive but remained healthy and asymptomatic throughout the disease cycle. The mode of infection in those cases remains unknown as well as the reason that these cases remained asymptomatic.
So it is safe to say that breastfeeding is the first chance of bonding and nourishment between a mother and her offspring. Breast milk perhaps is a source of immunity in newborns and helps their immune system to fight of viruses and other pathogens. Breast milk can also help newborns to fight off the allied infections associated with Covid-19.