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

The Nanaimo Timbermen and Victoria Shamrocks compete in Western Lacrosse Association action in Nanaimo during the 2019 season. (News Bulletin file photo)
WLA cancels another senior A lacrosse season due to COVID-19

Western Lacrosse Association, Major Series Lacrosse announce cancellation of Mann Cup

Nanaimo City Hall. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo adopts this year’s tax rates, sends out property tax bills

City says tax increase will amount to $68 for a typical household

Nanaimo RCMP asked the public for help finding a 60-year-old who had been missing since May 9. He has since been found. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: Nanaimo man located after he had been missing more than a week

Police had expressed concern, noting 60-year-old requires daily medication

A turn-control median at the intersection of Opal and Rock City Roads. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo council sticks with Opal Road decision despite residents’ call for reconsideration

Opal Road delegation claims ‘breakdown in the democratic process’

North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department crews at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Barnes Road near Holden Corso Road in Cedar. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Jeep rolls over on wet afternoon in Nanaimo, occupants OK

Incident happened Monday on Barnes Road in Cedar

North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department crews at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Barnes Road near Holden Corso Road in Cedar. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Jeep rolls over on wet afternoon in Nanaimo, occupants OK

Incident happened Monday on Barnes Road in Cedar

The new wing at the Victoria International Airport opened up on Thursday (File contributed/YYJ)
Pandemic takes ‘hundreds of millions’ out of Victoria Airport, Vancouver Island economy

Airport authority head says passenger volumes down as much as 98 per cent

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Reigning women’s World Champion Kaetlyn Osmond, who also took bronze at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, will debut two brand new programs for the 2021 Stars On Ice tour, in Victoria May 15. (File photo)
Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko hit the ice when Stars On Ice returns to Vancouver Island

The star-studded lineup is makes a return after pandemic hiatus

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen, with the 100 Mile House RCMP. (Melissa Smalley - 100 Mile Free Press)
14-year-old boy killed in serious ATV crash near 100 Mile House

Youth was travelling with a group of peers when the incident occurred last Friday

Relief is coming for B.C.’s struggling tourism sector. (NEWS file photo)
B.C. officials set to announce more support for tourism sector hit hard by pandemic

Non-essential travel is restricted between three regional zones in B.C. until at least May 24

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Nathalie Emmanuel, left, and Vin Diesel in a scene from “F9.” (Giles Keyte/Universal Pictures via AP)
The blockbuster movie is making a comeback this summer

Excitement in the industry is growing again for a return to a big-screen normal

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Most Read