The high risk of transmission of Covid-19 infection, which is seen in more people every day, is another concern, especially for pregnant women and nursing mothers.
On the one hand, mothers who consider their own health and their babies on the one hand think that they can transmit the virus and give up breastfeeding! However, due to the protective properties of breast milk, babies should not be deprived of this treasure in this very process. Acıbadem Kozyatağı Hospital Child Health and Diseases Specialist Dr. Elif Cornered ŞahinStating that there is no evidence that Covid-19 infection is transmitted to the baby during birth or from breast milk, “The mother can breastfeed her baby by paying attention to hand hygiene and wearing a mask. In this way, he will protect him against Covid-19 as well as against other viruses, as he provides important breasts that strengthen his baby. Child Health and Diseases Specialist Dr. Elif Köşeli Şahin explained the importance of breastfeeding in the pandemic and the rules of a safe breastfeeding, and made important warnings and suggestions.
Breast milk protects the baby from illness!
The World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that babies be fed exclusively breast milk in the first six months of life, and then continue breast milk by adding additional foods appropriate for the month until the age of two. Stating that breast milk protects babies from many infections thanks to its immune-supporting components. Acıbadem Kozyatağı Hospital Child Health and Diseases Specialist Dr. Elif Cornered Şahin He gives the following information: “There is no evidence that Covid-19 is transmitted to the baby in pregnant women directly from the mother's womb, through blood during birth or through breast milk after birth. Transmission to existing cases is thought to occur through the respiratory route. In the studies conducted, coronavirus antigens were not detected in the milk of mothers who had infection, on the contrary, (protective) antibodies against coronavirus were detected. For this reason, many health organizations, especially the World Health Organization and the American Infection Control Center, recommend that mothers with Covid-19 infection continue to feed their babies with breast milk. "
10 rules for safe breastfeeding!
Emphasizing that mothers with or suspected of carrying the Covid-19 virus should not forget the points that should be paid attention to while breastfeeding their babies, Dr. Elif Köşeli Şahin; She says that the mother's regular nutrition, sufficient fluid consumption and adequate / quality sleep are important both for fighting infection and for the continuity of breast milk. For this reason, she emphasized that support and care should be provided to mothers whose pregnancy coincided with a pandemic and who have gone through this process under stress and who try to adapt to a new life with a baby after birth. Elif Köşeli Şahin lists the rules to be followed during the breastfeeding process as follows:
- The best measure that can be taken during breastfeeding against the risk of Covid-19 transmission is to wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose. A standard 3-layer surgical mask should be used, it may be preferable to use double masks to increase protection.
- N95 masks are not suitable for patients and those with suspected illness due to breathing difficulties. Especially people with suspected illness should not wear ventilated (capped) masks. Since these valves exhale as they are, they can cause the virus to infect the surrounding adults or baby.
- All clothes of the individuals in the house should be washed at 60-90 degrees and the room where the mother feeds the baby should be ventilated frequently.
- The mother should wash her hands for 20 seconds, preferably with soapy water, including between the fingers, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if there is no soap. While sick, jewelry such as rings and bracelets should not be used for hand cleaning to be more effective.
- It is not necessary to wash the breast before each breastfeeding unless it is sneezed directly on the breast and coughed.
- Surfaces that are constantly touched during the day should be cleaned routinely.
- If the mother is too tired to breastfeed, breast milk should be expressed with a special pump and given to the child with the help of someone who is not sick. Pump, milk storage containers and used apparatus should be disinfected after each milking.
- Apart from breastfeeding hours, the mother should be kept in a separate room from healthy individuals and the baby at home, and the baby's needs such as changing diapers, dressing, bathing and sleeping should be met by someone else.
- If the mother does not show symptoms although the Covid-19 test is positive, the need for medication should be calculated well, and if possible, alternatives compatible with breastfeeding that do not pass into milk should be preferred.
- Mothers who are being treated in the hospital can continue to breastfeed by wearing masks and aprons, or they can be given milk by a healthy caregiver.