Safe for mother with COVID-19 to breastfeed her baby, docs say

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Mother Breastfeeding Baby
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SRINAGAR — A mother with coronavirus can breastfeed her baby but has to take some preventive measures, doctors say.

Many believe that any woman suffering from COVID-19 can’t breastfeed her baby. However, doctors say that it is safe for any woman suffering from COVID-19 to do so.

Professor Dr Farhat Jabeen, Head of Department, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Government Medical College Srinagar said people should not be scared by COVID-19, instead take preventive measures.

“Mother can breastfeed her baby. Her breast milk does not carry the infection. But they have to take some preventive measures. Pregnant women should maintain social distancing, keep proper hygiene and cover their mouth with a mask,” she said.

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She said, “During pregnancy, 80 to 90 percent patient suffering from coronavirus recover from this illness. But we should take measures that pregnant women do not get involved in this disease.”

She said pregnant women should utilise the health services in their own areas if they are not COVID-19 patients. “No one should hide his or her travel history,” she added.

Another doctor said that there is no evidence that pregnant women and new mothers are at higher risk of illness than the general population.

“World Health Organisation even says that the baby who has already been exposed to the coronavirus by the mother will benefit most from direct, continued breastfeeding. This is because breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and strengthens the baby’s immune system,” the doctor said.

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The doctor, however, said women with COVID-19 should take precautions. “New mother must practice respiratory hygiene. They should wash hands thoroughly before and after touching the baby,” the doctor advised.

The doctor even said that if a new mother has contracted the novel coronavirus and is not able to nurse the newborn because of the sickness, she can squeeze milk out of her breast, then store it and feed it to baby later.

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