Canada’s top doctor says new mothers should continue breastfeeding even if they have COVID-19. Photo Paul Henderson/Chilliwack Progress

Canada’s top doctor says new mothers should continue breastfeeding even if they have COVID-19. Photo Paul Henderson/Chilliwack Progress

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Canada’s top doctor says new mothers should still breastfeed even if they have COVID-19.

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam marked World Breastfeeding Awareness Week in a statement Wednesday (Aug, 7). She said there little evidence the virus is spread from mothers to babies through breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding continues to be recommended, whenever possible, as the best way to feed infants, owing to its many well-documented health benefits,” said Tam. “As well, breastfeeding offers the greatest protection against infection and illness throughout infancy and childhood.”

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 among children are rare in B.C. Just 78 children under the age of 10 have been infected by the virus out of the 3,881 total cases in the province through Aug. 7, according to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

A scientific brief released in June by the World Health Organization that attempted to determine whether the virus could be transmitted through breastfeeding was inconclusive.

“At this point it appears that COVID-19 in infants and children represents a much lower threat to survival and health than other infections that breastfeeding is protective against. … Based on available evidence, WHO recommendations on the initiation and continued breastfeeding of infants and young children also apply to mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.”

ALSO READ: Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

Tam said parents who are symptomatic or concerned about possible exposure should practise frequent hand washing, wear a non-medical face mask when close to the baby, and cover their own coughs and sneezes.

“Breastfeeding is a skill that mothers and infants learn together and support during the first few weeks is important …,” said Tam. “I encourage families and friends to reach out to support the new parents around them. And I encourage breastfeeding parents to seek help when they need it.”

Perinatal Services BC recommends parents also wash and disinfect all infant feeding supplies after each use, limit the number of people who feed the baby and to avoid putting face coverings on infants.

Related:

B.C. couple used transplant experience to help navigate pregnancy during pandemic

Pregnant B.C. woman catches COVID-19 days before giving birth

CoronavirusHealth and wellness

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

Most Read