The World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday the risk of COVID-19 infection through breastfeeding was negligible and had never been documented.
The WHO Head of Food and Nutrition Action in Health Systems Unit, Dr. Laurence Grummer-Strawn, stated this at the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week where he appealed for greater support for the practice.
This year’s event is coming amid warning by the WHO that lack of mother’s milk is linked to 820,000 child deaths a year, costing the global economy $300 billion (N114 trillion).
He said: “WHO has been very clear in its recommendations to say absolute breastfeeding should continue.
“We have never documented, anywhere around the world, any (COVID-19) transmission through breast milk.”
He said exclusive breastfeeding for six months has many benefits for the infant and mother which far outweigh any risk from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WHO official added that the advantages included the fact that breast milk, including milk which is expressed, provides lifesaving antibodies that protect babies against many childhood illnesses.
“This is only one of the reasons why new mothers should initiate skin-to-skin contact and room-in with their babies quickly.
“The risks of transmission of the COVID-19 virus from a COVID-positive mother to her baby seem to be extremely low,” he added.
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