Bhubaneswar: Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneswar Thursday claimed that breastfeeding during the Covid-19 pandemic is safe but preventive measures should be taken by the mothers.
The experts said that available research shows the transmission of Covid-19 through breast milk is highly uncommon and hasn’t been reported till date (as per advisories from Unicef and WHO).
Several neonatal, community medicine specialists from AIIMS and Unicef, Odisha in a media interaction tried to allay the fears against the practice of breastfeeding by mothers. Most of them even advised to continue with breastfeeding even if the mother is Covid positive.
“There is no evidence of vertical transmission of coronavirus from mother to child from breastfeeding. We at our hospital have seen three such cases of Covid positive mothers giving birth to kids and nursing them. It is quite safe but the mother must practice safe hygienic practice like washing hands and wearing masks while nursing the child,” said Dr Pankaj Mohanty, Associate Professor, Department of Neonatology, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar. The doctors said that newborns should not be isolated from the mothers after birth.
Dr Swayam Pragyan Parida, Associate Professor, Community Medicine Department from AIIMS, Bhubaneswar said, “There are several myths doing the rounds at this time of pandemic which includes bar on breastfeeding if mother is sick or Covid positive but the fact is it depends upon the kind of illness and in fact, mother’s milk itself acts as a treatment to the child.”
Dr Sonu H Subba, Head Community Medicine and Family Medicine, AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, said that Covid-19 pandemic has added the post partum depression of many new mothers.
Saurav Bhattacharjee, Nutrition Specialist from Unicef, Odisha said that breastfeeding prevents the newborns from several diseases and must not be shunned.
“Breastfeeding in the initial phases of a kid helps in boosting their immune system which can help them in fighting against diarrhoea, pneumonia and many other diseases besides ensuring their overall mental and physical well-being. The healthcare workers must counsel mothers for breastfeeding post birth especially during the pandemic time,” he said.
August first week is observed as World Breastfeeding Week every year to improve the practices among the mothers of small children and enable the creation of a supportive environment for successful breastfeeding of babies.