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The 3Ws of Breastfeeding to Follow Amid the Pandemic

The 3Ws of Breastfeeding to Follow Amid the Pandemic

Young parents world over do know how nutritionally “tailor-made” breast milk is for their newborns. It not only nourishes the young ones but also is a potent protection against diseases. Keeping this in view, WHO advises exclusive breastfeeding for newborns until six months. The same is recommended for up to 2 years of age or beyond for enhanced growth and development of babies.

While we do know that breastfeeding has exceptional health benefits for both the mother and child to grow, evolve and thrive, the coming of the COVID-19 crisis has evidently got mothers across the globe worked up about breastfeeding. New mothers fear transmitting the virus to their little ones through breast milk. But is that true? Is there a way for “safe breastfeeding”? Can mothers continue to breastfeed if sick?   If you have similar worries or wish to share safe ways of breastfeeding with your loved ones, read on. Here are some commonly wondered questions on breastfeeding worth a note!

What should I know about breastfeeding during the COVID-19 crisis
To bust the myth around transmitting coronavirus through breast milk, the CDC has declared that the virus has not been detected in breast milk and all mothers can continue to feed their babies with caution. To ensure better hygiene, practise UNICEF’s 3Ws thumb rule and breastfeed safely.

  • Always  Wear a mask while breastfeeding
  • Keep your hands thoroughly Washed with soap before and after coming in contact with the baby. In case you have ventured out prior to the feeding time,  Wash the breasts too with soap and water before feeding
  • Ensure you Wipe clean high-risk surfaces with disinfectants to keep the spread at bay

Following these three steps will not only help mothers safeguard the child’s safety but also protect the little one from contracting any infections from family members.

What should a mother do if she suspects having caught the virus?
 In addition to following appropriate health advisories and the 3Ws of good hygiene, young mothers can choose to express their breastmilk and feed the baby with a thoroughly washed cup and spoon.   Additionally, moms who are too ill to breastfeed should seek immediate medical help and if feasible allow a non-infected member to express milk and feed the baby using clean utensils. Ensure that this person too wears a mask and keeps good hand hygiene while coming in contact with the baby and the mother.

What should mothers with confirmed cases of COVID-19 do?

As per recent health guidelines, mothers infected with the virus can choose to breastfeed or express milk following additional care and caution based on their wellness. Mothers who test positive and do not feel too sick can continue feeding with all the precautionary measures. However, if a mother develops symptoms including fever, cough or breathing difficulties, it is recommended to seek prompt medical assistance and follow the instructions of a healthcare expert. To avoid contact and respiratory transmission, ensure you wash your hands and breasts and always feed with a mask on. Since the breast milk produces immune factors or antibodies to fight against viruses and bacteria, continuing feeding can protect the baby against disease and enhance the baby’s immune responses. Whether to start or continue breastfeeding if ill, however, is a prerogative of  the mother in consultation with her family and healthcare providers.

By: Kiara Sharma | on 2020-08-06

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