Mothers can breastfeed infants even if they are COVID-19 positive: India’s WCD Ministry

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New Delhi – India’s Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD) has told all healthcare providers and field functionaries to reassure mothers to initiate and continue to breastfeed their infants as per the guidelines even if they are tested positive for COVID-19.

The WCD ministry has reassured mothers that the coronavirus has not been found in amniotic fluid or breast milk, which clearly indicates that the virus is not being transmitted during pregnancy or through breast milk.

However, the ministry said that the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare must be followed by those who are suspected or tested positive for COVID-19.

“Field functionaries/healthcare providers should reassure and support all mothers to initiate and continue to breastfeed their infants as per the guidelines of WHO and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare – even if they are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19,” the ministry tweeted.

“Wash your hands thoroughly with soap or sanitizer before and after contact with your child. In case of complementary feeding, feed the infant or young child with a cup and wash hands with soap and water before handling cups, bottles, teats etc and limit the number of caregivers feeding the infant,” it said in another tweet.

However, WHO on Sunday tweeted that, “Transmission of active #COVID19 virus through breast milk and #breastfeeding has not been detected to date. There is no reason to avoid or stop breastfeeding”.

The announcements are a part of campaign by World Breastfeeding Week which takes place every year between August 1 and August 7. It promotes exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life which yields health benefits, provides critical nutrients and protects from deadly diseases.

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