Every parent wants the best for their baby. As long as our budget permits, we want to provide them with quality baby products, premium baby gear, and all the healthy food available. But in these uncertain times, even a healthy and well-protected baby is prone to get infected by COVID-19. The coronavirus spreads easily and spares no one, including our little angels.
A baby’s health is at its most vulnerable during its infancy. Their bodies haven’t established a proper immunity against various health disparities, which leaves them disproportionately vulnerable to severe viruses, such as COVID-19. As for COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine manufacturers are still seeking vaccine clearance for children between the ages of five and 11.
Mothers who gave birth to pandemic babies are having serious concerns about the health of their little ones, particularly those who breastfeed. Breastfeeding offers plenty of benefits, but many are fearful of whether it can be a possible way of infecting a baby.
In these uncertain times, it’s essential to keep our babies safe and healthy from COVID-19. So to give your baby the protection they deserve, here’s what you need to know when breastfeeding your baby during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Benefits of breast milk during a pandemic
Whether pandemic or not, breastfeeding is the best food for babies. A mother’s milk provides the best protection against a variety of viral infections. But experts haven’t yet proven that breast milk can protect infants from coronavirus. But several studies discovered the presence of antibodies in breast milk that can tackle the virus.
While we’re still waiting for further studies about the role of breast milk against COVID-19, it’s worth noting that coronavirus is a type of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Experts have proven the ability of breast milk in helping infants reduce the likelihood of acquiring severe respiratory conditions when sick. To lessen the chances of getting infected by the virus, breastfeeding your baby can make a huge difference.
Besides babies, breastfeeding is also proven to enhance a mother’s mental state. This is because breastfeeding mothers release hormones from their bodies, which helps in promoting wellness and relieving anxiety and stress. The pandemic has been particularly hard for many people, especially those affected by lockdowns, layoffs, economic crises, and financial difficulties. Since newborn mothers have no outlet but to stay at home, this makes them more prone to postpartum depression. In this case, breastfeeding a baby helps in preventing hormonal imbalance.
Another benefit of breastfeeding is its availability. Making purchases is particularly difficult during a pandemic when stores are seldom open and you have to buy online. This is why it’s more challenging to purchase formula milk and feeding supplies. With breast milk, not only do you have readily available milk, but you offer maximum nourishment for your baby.
Vaccination and breastfeeding
There are no special precautions for mothers who received their complete vaccination against COVID-19, whether you’re feeding the baby through your breast or expressing milk. But if you’re showing signs of COVID-19 or come into contact with an infected individual, health authorities recommend wearing a mask.
COVID vaccines are completely safe for lactating women. In fact, a large population of breastfeeding mothers has already received the vaccine. A study reveals that vaccinated mothers who breastfeed can potentially transfer protection to their breastfed infants. But researchers have to conduct further studies to discover the role of breast milk antibodies in protecting lactating babies.
Coronavirus transmits through close contact once an infected individual talks, sneezes, and coughs. But mothers who aren’t showing symptoms of COVID-19 don’t have to take extra precautions once they’re vaccinated. As far as studies go, scientists haven’t found coronavirus in breastmilk. Breastfeeding is completely safe even if the mother has flu or viral illness, such as influenza.
Breastfeeding during a pandemic
Yes, mothers can breastfeed their babies even if they’re infected with COVID-19. With an ongoing public health crisis, breastfeeding is vital for babies to give them the protection and nourishment they need.
If you want to prevent close contact with your baby or you’re going somewhere, make sure to follow safety precautions when pumping your breast milk, wash hands, wear a face mask, clean the feeding bottles, artificial nipples, and pump parts. Provide express milk at least six to eight times each day.
Besides breastfeeding, it’s essential to keep up with your baby’s vaccines and doctor’s appointments. The COVID-19 pandemic can be particularly difficult for our children, whether physically or mentally. In these uncertain times, parents should be patient enough and proactive when dealing with potential health threats. In this case, the most effective way to protect your baby against coronavirus is to get vaccinated.