WHO encourages mothers to breastfeed irrespective of Covid-19 infection

A mother breastfeeds
Covid-19 must not stop mothers from breastfeeding (Credit: UNICEF/ Flickr)

Mothers must continue breastfeeding even if they have confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19 says the World Health Organisation.

Speaking at the launch of World Breastfeeding week, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says new mothers must be educated on the importance of breastfeeding.

“Mothers should be counselled that the many benefits of breastfeeding for newborn babies and children substantially outweigh the potential risks for Covid-19 infection,” Ghebreyesus says.

Most nutritious start to life

This years’ theme for World Breastfeeding Week is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. World Breastfeeding week is marked from 1 to 7 August. The WHO reiterates that breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life, delivering health, nutrition and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. It also forms part of a sustainable food system.

“As we have seen again and again, standard public health measures are often the most effective and we are reiterating the importance of breastfeeding, which has lifesaving benefits for babies and families,” says Ghebreyesus.

Don’t separate new mothers and their infants

Ghebreyesus recommends that all new mothers should remain with their infants, even if they have confirmed or suspected Covid-19 infection.

“Mother and infant should be helped to remain together while rooming-in throughout the day and night and to practice skin-to-skin contact, including kangaroo mother care, especially immediately after birth and during establishment of breastfeeding, whether they or their infants have suspected or confirmed Covid-19,” he says.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), breastfeeding also lowers the risk of chronic conditions later in life, such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, child asthma and childhood leukemias. – Health-e News.



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