Covid-19 is not spread by breastfeeding, say experts

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has seen a fair share of fake news and conspiracy theories emerge, with the only real result being to sow fear and distrust among communities.

However, some of these false stories can lead to real harm being done.

One such false rumour currently doing the rounds is that infants can catch Covid-19 through infected breastmilk.

However, as Associaton for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) spokesperson Andiswa Ngqaka urgently reminds people, there is no scientific basis behind this claim.

“There is unanimous agreement across international health organisations that moms can have complete peace of mind breastfeeding their children through the pandemic, even if they are Covid-19 positive or suspect they might be infected,” Ngqaka said.

She was backed up by fellow ADSA spokesperson and associate professor at Stellenbosch University, Lisanne du Plessis, who said the best way to prevent infants from contracting Covid-19 was to follow proper health protocols such as regularly washing hands, wearing face masks when interacting with children, sneezing into one’s elbow or a tissue and regularly disinfecting surfaces.

Ngqaka said the spreading of misinformation was concerning.

“There are ancedotes from various countries indicating that this misinformation is causing moms to avoid breastfeeding during the pandemic,” she said.

Again, however, she urged parents to disregard this claim and said that breastfeeding was important for infants.

“The benefits of skin-to-skin contact with your baby and breastfeeding as normal are overwhelmingly immune-boosting and protective of your baby’s health,” Ngqaka said.

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