Mothers infected with Covid-19 virus are encouraged to continue breastfeeding their newborns, said Sabah Health Department director Datuk Dr Rose Nani Mudin.
She also said the perception that Covid-19-positive mothers cannot breastfeed was inaccurate.
However, she stressed that mothers will need to take extra precautions when carrying and feeding their babies to prevent infecting their babies with the virus.
“Breast milk is the best for babies especially those under six months old, therefore we encourage mothers who tested positive for Covid-19 to continue breastfeeding them.”
“All they need to do is wear a face mask, wash their hands with soap and water before handling the baby and take extra precaution to not breathe directly on the baby when it is breast feeding. Alternatively they can use a breast pump to extract the milk to feed the baby,” she said, reported The Borneo Post.
Dr Dose said the state Health Department will be increasing public awareness on this to dispel rumours that mothers who tested positive for Covid-19 cannot breastfeed their babies.
She also expressed hope that individuals or private companies could develop programmes to help mothers who could not afford breast pumps.
On another matter, she advised parents to bring their children to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and for adults to take their booster shots.
“This is for our safety and protection. As the statistics show, we now have fewer severe cases and reduced deaths compared with the time before vaccination was introduced,” she said.
According to an article published by WHO, the organisation recommends mothers to continue breastfeeding infants and young children as the consequences of not breastfeeding and separation between mother and child can be significant.
While there are not enough data to conclude that the virus cannot be transmitted though breast milk, it explained that the risk of COVID-19 infection in infants is low, and the infection is typically mild or asymptomatic.
However, it is said that the benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission.