Scientists say that breastfeeding will not pass COVID-19 onto a child – there was no infectious material found in the milk itself
It has been previously found that breastfeeding can pass COVID antibodies to children.
Dr Joseph Larkin III, senior author of a different study, said: “Our findings show that vaccination results in a significant increase in antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — in breast milk, suggesting that vaccinated mothers can pass on this immunity to their babies, something we are working to confirm in our ongoing research.”
While COVID infection creates antibodies in a person after their illness, women who are breastfeeding are increasingly concerned about providing nutrition to their babies.
Research makes breastfeeding seem safe
Now, new research finds that breastfeeding mothers with COVID don’t seem to be able to pass the virus onto their children.
Paul Krogstad, lead author, said: “Breastmilk is an invaluable source of nutrition to infants. In our study, we found no evidence that breastmilk from mothers infected with COVID-19 contained infectious genetic material and no clinical evidence was found to suggest the infants got infected, which suggests breastfeeding is not likely to be a hazard.”
At the University of California, the team analysed 110 lactating women. These women donated to Mommy’s Milk Human Milk Biorepository at the University of California, San Diego between March and September 2020.
Out of the sample, 65 had a positive COVID-19 test, while 9 had symptoms but tested negative, and 36 were symptomatic but were not tested. The team found genetic material of COVID in the breastmilk of just 7 women, 6%, had either confirmed infection or reported being symptomatic.
No clinical evidence
A second breastmilk sample taken from these seven women between one and 97 days later did not contain any SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The authors did not find any infectious SARS-CoV-2 genetic material known as SgRNA – which is an indicator of virus replication – in the seven breastmilk samples and when culturing other samples. There was no clinical evidence of infection in the infants who were breastfed by the seven mothers with SARS-CoV-2 RNA in their milk.
However, the authors warn that the sample size is relatively low – so there may be factors that look at the COVID and breastmilk relationship yet to be discovered.