A study conducted by researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles indicates that breastfeeding is not a practice that poses a risk of infecting a baby with COVID-19.
Since the start of the pandemic, many mothers infected with COVID-19 and breastfeeding have feared that by feeding their children they could transmit the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus to them. Fears are based on the fact that breastfeeding transmits another type of virus, such as HIV.
However, the study by experts from the University of California, published in the Pediatric research medical journal, concludes that breastfeeding “does not seem like a threat” to transmit the coronavirus to an infant, and that on the contrary, the benefits far outweigh the risks.
The experts reached their conclusions after analyzing breast milk samples from 110 lactating women, of whom 65 had tested positive for covid, while another 9 showed symptoms even when their test was negative; the rest of the samples, 36, corresponded to symptomatic women who did not undergo a test.
After analyzing the samples, the experts found SARS-CoV-2 RNA in only seven samples, but found no traces of SgRNA genetic material, which indicates that the virus replicates, and therefore has the possibility of infecting another person.
Paul Krogstad, one of the study’s co-authors, noted that “breast milk is an invaluable test of nutrients for an infant,” stressing that “our study found no evidence that breast milk from a mother infected with COVID-19 contain infectious genetic material. In turn, no clinical evidence was found to suggest that the infants were infected, suggesting that it is not plausible that breastfeeding is a threat.”
Despite the study’s findings, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that lactating women infected with COVID-19 feed their children wearing a mask.