Precautions for breastfeeding babies during COVID-19 Pandemic
Some simple things such as breastfeeding could save a million children a year. This is why the first 7 days of August every year a breastfeeding week is marked across the world to create awareness on the importance of breastmilk to infants.
Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies and protects them against preventable illness. Breastfeeding satisfies all the basic needs of infants. Infants get warmth while in the arms of the mother when being breastfed. This is their food and a source of security when in the knowledge of the mother’s presence.
More than ever, breastfeeding should be encouraged during this COVID-19 pandemic as it is the best preventive measure for infants during this pandemic.
Taking precautions when breastfeeding during this COVID-19 Pandemic
So far, no evidence of coronavirus has been found in the breastmilk making it the safest food for infants. For this reason, mothers are encouraged to continue breastfeeding their infants.
When mothers get COVID-19, they produce antibodies in their milk to protect their baby and enhance the baby’s own immunity making breastfeeding the best way to protect your infants against the virus.
However, mothers should take extra precautions while breastfeeding to avoid spreading the virus to their infants.
What to do to prevent spreading COVID-19 while breastfeeding:
- Wash hands with soap before and after touching the baby.
- Wearing a face mask when near a child and during breastfeeding
- Cleaning/disinfecting surfaces regularly
- When too ill to breastfeed, a mother can use a cup and spoon to feed babies with expressed breastmilk or ask someone who is well to do it while taking all the necessary precautions.
Mixed feeding can be dangerous for babies younger than 6 months.
Mothers are encouraged not to give their babies other foods or liquids such as infant formula, animal milk, and water before 6 months. This reduces the benefits that your baby gets from breastmilk.
At 6 months, the baby still has a premature system therefore giving him/her food or drinks will damage their stomach. It will also replace the protective factor of breastmilk leaving them vulnerable to infectious diseases like coronavirus.
Dangers of mixed feeding include: -
- Increased risk of childhood illnesses like diarrhea and respiratory infections
- Increased risk of your child developing chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease later in life
- Interference with bonding
- May lower your baby’s score on intelligence tests
- Increased risk of you developing anemia, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer
As we mark this year’s Breastfeeding week, Julisha.Info would wish to remind us that breastfeeding is a shared responsibility. No one should be left behind. Let us inspire every mother to breastfeed her child as that is the most precious gift a mom can give to her child.
Do you have any questions relating to breastfeeding? Please write to us via the Julisha.Info Facebook page, Monday to Friday from 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.