No evidence coronavirus is transmitted through breastfeeding-WHO
London, May 28, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The World Health Organization, WHO and UNICEF have encourage women to continue to breastfeed their little ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if they have confirmed or suspected to be COVID-19 positive
In a statement sent to Alternativeafrica.com, WHO and UNICEF said current evidence indicate that it is unlikely that COVID-19 would be transmitted through breastfeeding or by giving breast milk that has been expressed by a mother who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19
The organizations say while researchers continue to test breast milk from mothers with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, it is a common knowledge that breastfeeding saves children’s lives as it provides antibodies that give babies a healthy boost and protect them against many childhood illnesses.
“The fear of COVID-19 transmission is eclipsing the importance of breastfeeding – and in too many countries mothers and babies are being separated at birth – making breastfeeding and skin to skin contact difficult if not impossible , all on the basis of no evidence. Meanwhile the baby food industry is exploiting fears of infection, promoting and distributing free formula and misleading advice – claiming that the donations are humanitarian and that they are trustworthy partners,” says Patti Rundall, of IBFAN’s Global Council.
A new report by WHO, UNICEF, and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) reveals that despite efforts to stop the harmful promotion of breast-milk substitutes, countries are still falling short in protecting parents from misleading information particularly this time of covid-19 pandemic
WHO says the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for stronger legislation to protect families from false claims about the safety of breast-milk substitutes or aggressive marketing practices
The aggressive marketing of breast-milk substitutes, especially through health professionals that parents trust for nutrition and health advice, is a major barrier to improving newborn and child health worldwide,” says Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition and Food Safety.
“Health care systems must act to boost parent’s confidence in breastfeeding without industry influence so that children don’t miss out on its lifesaving benefits.”
WHO and UNICEF recommend that babies be fed nothing but breast milk for their first 6 months, after which they should continue breastfeeding – as well as eating other nutritious and safe foods – until 2 years of age or beyond.