The area of Breastfeeding of the Committee on Nutrition and Breastfeeding (CNYLM) of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) has claimed implement breastfeeding from the baby’s birth, even in the case that the mother is infected with the Covid-19 virus, maintaining the usual security measures or by expressing with breast pumps.
The benefits of breastfeeding are well knowns: protects the baby against common diseases both in the short and long term, reduces the mother’s risk of cancer and other diseases and implies enormous savings for families, in addition to the environmental benefit it represents for the planet. However, despite all the benefits of this practice for both the baby and the mother, breastfeeding “has been diminished in recent times, like so many other medical and social aspects, due to the Covid-19 pandemic” .
As they point out from AEP, current breastfeeding rates in Spain “They are far from ideal goals.” “The course of events imposed by the current pandemic situation has had and continues to have a negative impact on the quality of perinatal care, on maternal and child health and on the promotion and protection of breastfeeding,” says Dr. Susana Ares Segura, coordinator of the Breastfeeding area of the CNYLM of the AEP.
Thus, and given the important benefits of breastfeeding for the mother and the nursing child, and given the current state of evidence, different scientific organizations and associations, including the Spanish Society of Neonatology, recommend, if necessary. of maternal infection by Covid-19, Maintaining breastfeeding from birth as long as the clinical conditions of the newborn and its mother allow it.
“Direct breastfeeding is possible while maintaining the usual infection control measures [medidas de contacto, higiene de manos y uso de mascarilla]. However, if the mother so wishes or the clinical situation advises it, the milk can be expressed with a breast pump. [manteniendo iguales medidas de prevención]it can also be administered to the baby by a healthy caregiver, by means of a cup, spoon or bottle, “says Dr. Ares.
Regarding the influence of the pandemic on hospital practices, it is highlighted that it is a priority to resume the opening of doors 24 hours a day in the Neonatal Units, as well as the normalization in the practice of the Mother Kangaroo method. “Both practices have amply demonstrated benefits in maintaining breastfeeding for the most vulnerable newborns,” emphasizes the pediatrician.
Similarly, the Human Milk Banks have made adaptations in their operating dynamics, in order to collaborate, to the greatest extent possible, with the strategies aimed at containing the spread of the virus, as well as guaranteeing the microbiological quality of the milk. donated milk.
For donations, temporary exclusion criteria (of variable duration depending on the scenario) are followed in cases in which the donor suffers or has suffered a coronavirus infection (confirmed or probable) or has had a risk exposure (close contact ) with a probable or confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 infection. “After the relevant time has elapsed, the donation can be resumed without problem,” warns Dr. Ares.
Breastfeeding and vaccination against Covid-19
Since the vaccination process against Covid-19 began, there have been doubts regarding your compatibility with breastfeeding. Pediatricians point out that the evidence in this regard is “scarce, mainly due to the absence of lactating mothers included in clinical trials carried out prior to the start of the vaccination of the population “.
“But nevertheless, the general administration of vaccines in nursing mothers is safe for the mother herself, the lactation and the infant, except for live attenuated virus vaccines, such as yellow fever, “they clarify.
Dr. María José Párraga Quiles, member of the Breastfeeding area of the CNYLM of the AEP, recalls that “The vaccines authorized in Spain against Covid-19 are based on messenger RNA or on viral vectors [adenovirus no patógeno para el hombre y modificado con material genético del coronavirus]”.” None of them contain live viruses, so they lack infective capacity, “he says.
Therefore, international and national scientific organizations and associations such as WHO, the Spanish Ministry of Health or the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the AEP, do not advise against its use in nursing mothers, especially in those belonging to risk groups.
“Based on the available evidence, we can therefore affirm that the vaccine against Covid-19 is not contraindicated in breastfeeding, being also compatible with the donation. Suspending breastfeeding to administer the vaccine is not only not justified, but also puts the health of the mother and the infant at risk, “concludes Dr. Párraga.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.