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World Breastfeeding Week 2021: How Can COVID-19 Positive Lactating Mothers Exercise Care And Caution While Nursing Their Babies?

World Breastfeeding Week: Instead of avoiding contact with her child because of the fear of the infection, a lactating mother who has tested Covid positive should continue to breastfeed her child by following precautions, said Dr Arun Gupta, Pediatrician and Central Coordinator of Breastfeeding Promotion Network Of India

World Breastfeeding Week 2021: How Can COVID-19 Positive Lactating Mothers Exercise Care And Caution While Nursing Their Babies?
Highlights
  • Covid positive mothers can continue to breastfeed their babies: Expert
  • Breastmilk helps develop immunity in a baby: Dr Arun Gupta, BPNI
  • Vaccines will help prevent severe diseases in lactating mothers: Expert

New Delhi: According to experts, breastmilk is important for the health of the baby as it contains vital elements like nutrients that help in the baby’s growth and antibodies that strengthen its immune system. However, as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic which has impacted most of the global population including children, should the new mothers who have contracted the highly contagious coronavirus continue to breastfeed their babies? NDTV spoke with Dr Arun Gupta, Pediatrician and Central Coordinator of Breastfeeding Promotion Network Of India (BPNI) during the ongoing World Breastfeeding Week 2021 to learn about how a Covid positive lactating mother can continue to breastfeed their babies safely.

Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week 2021: Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Mothers and Babies

The World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that mother and infant should be enabled to remain together and to practice skin-to-skin contact, including kangaroo mother care, especially immediately after birth and during the establishment of breastfeeding, whether they or their infants have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Here are 10 things a Covid positive breastfeeding mother should keep in mind in order to keep her baby healthy, according to Dr Gupta:

  1. A woman who has tested positive for Covid or is suspected to carry the virus should not stop feeding her baby. The mother should continue to breastfeed her baby while following safety protocols. It is safe to breastfeed A child if the mother is Covid positive or has symptoms.
  2. Studies done by the WHO and other experts from across the world find that there is no evidence of coronavirus being transmitted via breastmilk. WHO recommends that mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate or continue to breastfeed and they should be counselled that the benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission.
  3. A Covid-hit new mother must wear masks when she is near the baby or less than six feet from the baby and must wash her chest if she has just coughed on it before breastfeeding. She must wash her hands before touching the baby and also sanitize the surrounding areas frequently.
  4. Breastmilk may even help prevent incidences of infections such as respiratory tract infections among children and added that breastmilk is loaded with nutrition and antibodies which protect the baby and boosts its immunity.
  5. Breastfeeding helps a mother stay calm as the process releases a hormone called Oxytocin which 0evokes the feeling of calmness, reduces anxiety and helps bonding with the baby and enhance milk production.
  6. In case a mother is severely ill due to Covid because of which she is unable to hold her baby and breastfeed directly, she can express milk to safely provide breastmilk to the baby. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) recommends providing a dedicated breast pump to the Covid positive mother in order to contain transmission. It further said that each time after milk extraction, every part of the breast pump should be sanitized. The Union Health Ministry recommends that the expressed breast milk should be fed to the newborn by a healthy caregiver.
  7. If the mother is too weak to express milk, then alternatives to her breastmilk can be arranged which include human milk from other lactating mothers in the family or from a breastmilk donor.
  8. In case of the absence of human milk, one may use other kinds of feeds but in that case, milk must be prepared in hygienic conditions using sterilised containers and bottles. The milk should be used after a couple of hours after being prepared. The mother can also explore the possibility of relactation or restarting breastfeeding after a gap, once she feels better.
  9. The family of a Covid positive breastfeeding mother can play an important role by supporting her in recovering from the diseases and in taking care of her baby. It is important to support her emotionally as well during this tough period.
  10. It is strongly recommended for lactating women to get vaccinated to help reduce the possibility of severe diseases among breastfeeding mothers to a large extent and may also help the baby get some protection via antibodies that pass through the breastmilk.

Also Read: What Is Important For Breastfeeding Mothers In Times Of COVID-19? Dr Shariqua Yunus Of World Food Programme Explains

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

23,00,65,708Cases
19,25,31,777Active
3,28,15,731Recovered
47,18,200Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 23,00,65,708 and 47,18,200 have died; 19,25,31,777 are active cases and 3,28,15,731 have recovered as on September 23, 2021 at 3:36 am.

India

3,35,63,421 31,923Cases
3,01,640349Active
3,28,15,731 31,990Recovered
4,46,050 282Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,63,421 confirmed cases including 4,46,050 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,640 and 3,28,15,731 have recovered as on September 23, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,31,237 3,608

43,544 725

63,49,029 4,285

1,38,664 48

Kerala

45,59,601 19,675

1,61,596 169

43,73,966 19,702

24,039 142

Karnataka

29,70,208 847

13,650 119

29,18,890 946

37,668 20

Tamil Nadu

26,50,370 1,682

17,027 34

25,97,943 1,627

35,400 21

Andhra Pradesh

20,42,073 1,365

13,796 109

20,14,180 1,466

14,097 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,708 15

196 2

16,86,624 12

22,888 1

West Bengal

15,63,393 683

7,724 17

15,36,978 687

18,691 13

Delhi

14,38,586 30

411 11

14,13,090 19

25,085

Odisha

10,21,950 734

5,129 285

10,08,671 445

8,150 4

Chhattisgarh

10,05,146 26

300 3

9,91,283 23

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,282 7

98 1

9,45,230 8

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,771 20

133 0

8,15,556 20

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,422 12

90 0

7,81,815 12

10,517

Haryana

7,70,770 16

332 4

7,60,629 11

9,809 1

Bihar

7,25,918 11

60 0

7,16,199 11

9,659

Telangana

6,64,164 258

4,946 8

6,55,310 249

3,908 1

Punjab

6,01,401 42

324 20

5,84,576 22

16,501

Assam

5,99,271 407

4,880 201

5,88,574 604

5,817 4

Jharkhand

3,48,146 7

63 2

3,42,950 9

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,428 23

256 7

3,35,781 16

7,391

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,418 204

1,536 86

3,22,463 118

4,419

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,615 212

1,823 108

2,12,133 100

3,659 4

Goa

1,75,792 102

950 64

1,71,545 38

3,297

Puducherry

1,25,735 117

945 23

1,22,956 92

1,834 2

Manipur

1,19,041 171

2,214 40

1,14,991 130

1,836 1

Mizoram

84,109 1,294

15,638 275

68,199 1,015

272 4

Tripura

83,981 25

346 7

82,825 31

810 1

Meghalaya

79,983 166

1,868 10

76,730 172

1,385 4

Chandigarh

65,201 6

44 0

64,338 5

819 1

Arunachal Pradesh

54,241 51

442 29

53,526 22

273

Sikkim

31,074 60

642 15

30,051 44

381 1

Nagaland

30,990 31

459 11

29,873 41

658 1

Ladakh

20,750 7

148 4

20,395 3

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,361 1

10 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,615 8

20 3

7,466 5

129

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