A new study offers more reassurance that mothers infected with SARS-CoV-2 can safely breastfeed their babies.
The study of 55 infants born to moms with COVID-19 found that none contracted the virus — even though most started getting breast milk in the hospital.
Researchers said the findings support existing advice from public health authorities. Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that moms with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can continue breastfeeding.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that breast milk is “not a likely source” of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and that infected moms can breastfeed as long as they take some precautions.
“If you wash your hands and wear a mask, there’s no reason you can’t breastfeed,” said Dr. Marcel Yotebieng, an associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Yotebieng cowrote an editorial published with the new study April 13 in the journal Pediatrics.
He said that while breastfeeding recommendations already exist, it’s important for studies to keep tracking whether infant infections related to breast milk do occur.
These latest findings do not rule out that possibility, said lead researcher Dr. Noa Ofek Shlomai, who heads the neonatal unit at Hadassah and Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem.