Mothers with Covid-19 can breastfeed without concern

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Breastfeeding is probably not a risk factor for newborns, according to a recent U.S. study.

Although this study allowed genetic material of the coronavirus to be found in the breast milk of infected mothers, the virus does not appear to be infectious, according to an analysis of breast milk samples from 110 breastfeeding women.

Of the study participants, 65 tested positive for coronavirus, and nine had symptoms but a negative test result. Thirty-six women reported symptoms but were not tested.
As the researchers led by Paul Krogstad of the University of California explain in the journal Pediatric Research, they found genetic material of Sars-CoV-2 in the breast milk of seven women. But there was no evidence of infectious viruses, according to the study. Thus, babies breastfed by these mothers showed no clinical signs of infection (though they were not tested).

According to the researchers, this is the largest study to date on breast milk and Sars-CoV-2. Although the number of cases is too small for generalizability, it can be concluded from this and other studies that infection via this route is “very, very unlikely,” André Kidszun, department head of neonatology at Inselspital Bern, told the Keystone-SDA news agency in response to a query. Breastfeeding and breast milk offer strong advantages for the newborn, which is why parents are advised to do the same. According to the physician, the possible transmission routes should continue to be systematically investigated, on as many test subjects as possible.

While infection is obviously not transmitted via breast milk, the mother passes on her vaccine protection to her child: the milk contains antibodies after administration of a Corona vaccine, which can help protect the baby from infection. The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends that mothers continue to breastfeed their newborns in case of infection with the corona virus and after a corona vaccination.

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