BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — We’ve heard so much about wearing masks, social distancing, and vaccines in fighting COVID-19, but now, according to health professionals, mothers may be able to protect their baby from COVID-19, through breast milk.
Some mothers are concerned that they could pass COVID-19 to their babies through breastfeeding, but there is no evidence that that can happen, instead, mothers may be able to pass on COVID-19 antibodies to their babies, protecting them from the virus.
“Very likely that for breastfeeding, we continue to protect our babies against COVID,” Dr. Alexandra Franco, Internal Medicine, and Infectious Disease specialist, Clinica Sierra Vista.
It’s encouraging news from Dr. Alexandra Franco, antibodies for COVID-19 could transfer through a mother’s breast milk to her baby.
“We know that we develop antibodies against the infection, we don’t know for how long it lasts or how effective they are or if for sure they go through the breast milk, however, we believe so, and I think that we are more leaning towards the fact that you could give immunity to your baby through the breast milk,” said Dr. Franco.
While it’s not 100%t certain, Franco has reason to believe that breastfeeding can only help the baby during the pandemic, she also encourages breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women to consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their babies.
“I am 37 weeks pregnant, and I got the vaccine a week ago. Pregnant females are at an increased risk of death when it comes to complications from covid than the rest of the population,” said Dr. Franco.
According to the CDC, pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, another stat that is raising concern is a JAMA study found during the pandemic period, there have been 9.31 stillbirths per every 1,000 births, versus 2.38 stillbirths per 1,000 births before the pandemic.
“If you compare the risks, of getting a vaccine that has been proven to be pretty safe, pretty benign, versus the risk of getting COVID while pregnant, you know COVID could kill you and your baby, while the vaccine is only going to protect you,” said Dr. Franco.
For mothers who may have symptoms or are worried about passing COVID-19 to their babies, they are encouraged to wear masks and sanitize before and after breastfeeding.
“We are all encouraging pregnant women to get the vaccine, breastfeeding moms to get the vaccine, the more people that we get vaccinated in the community the faster we will be able to control this pandemic and we will all be able to go back to our normal lives,” Dr. Franco added.
While more studies are needed, Franco encourages mothers to continue breastfeeding. There are still different benefits and nutrients to help their babies fight off other infections and help them stay healthy during this time.