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

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

Just Posted

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Head-on collision Jan. 14 claims one life west of Fort St. James

Jenkins said alcohol, as well as road surface conditions, have been ruled out as factors

Nechako River, Vanderhoof, B.C. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Officials keeping close tabs on Nechako River after ice jam causes area flooding

District of Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen, though, said water levels have gone down, for now

Vanderhoof home sees water from the Nechako move up into the yard, and within hours, water was seen up to the deck. Ken Young, Vanderhoof councillor posted this photo on social media.
Mayor concerned about ice jams in the Nechako river

“We have never lived with a frozen river at this magnitude during our time in council,” mayor said.

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read