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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health continues to tackle COVID-19

IH president Susan Brown says don’t become complacent about pandemic

Osoyoos happy to leave border closed

Tourism from B.C. has bolstered the town’s economy over the summer

Penticton receives grant to construct new child care facility

The $2.9 million grant will bring up to 116 additional child care spaces to the city

Child sex offender relocated from Princeton after newspaper reveals his proximity to school

Offender convicted in 2019 of charges related to sex assault and child pornography

Okanagan School of the Arts unveils fall class lineup

Pre-registration for the first course on Sept. 20

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Summerland councillor’s bid for NDP nomination rejected

Doug Holmes was told provincial executive would not accept his application

Most Read