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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

22,95,44,435Cases
19,20,52,504Active
3,27,83,741Recovered
47,08,190Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.

India

3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,01,9897,586Active
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70

Kerala

45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214

Karnataka

29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14

Delhi

14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18

25,085

Odisha

10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14

10,517

Haryana

7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20

9,808

Bihar

7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15

9,659

Telangana

6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1

Punjab

6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2

Assam

5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6

Jharkhand

3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2

Goa

1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2

Puducherry

1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46

1,832

Manipur

1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3

Tripura

83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44

809

Mizoram

82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5

Meghalaya

79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1

Chandigarh

65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1

Sikkim

31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70

380

Nagaland

30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3

Ladakh

20,743 6

144 6

20,392

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,360 1

9 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3

129

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