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NEW Updates on Breastfeeding, Infant feeding, Breastmilk and COVID-19 - scientific updates

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This question relates to COVID-19.

Mija Ververs


Normal user

10 Mar 2021, 16:47

NEW Updates on Breastfeeding, Infant Feeding, Breast Milk and COVID-19 – excerpts from scientific journal articles –  10 March 2021

Dear Colleagues,

As we anticipate ending on 30 April 2021, we would like to know how you have used the repository, how it has been helpful to you in your work, and gauge interest for its continuation. Please consider taking this brief survey (estimated time 3 minutes) before this Friday, 12 March 2021. Your feedback is very valuable to us and your responses will help to inform future efforts. Survey responses are anonymous.

Since our last update Wednesday 24 February 2021, we have added 24 NEW publications for March (4 new), February (13 new), January (3 new), December (1 new), November (1 new), October (1 new), and September (1 new).

Click here to view the updated repository

All publications provide emerging evidence related to COVID-19 and

  • Breastfeeding and breast milk (including viral transmission and vaccination issues)
  • Infant feeding recommendations
  • Feeding difficulties in newborns

While there were several recent reviews of international literature, this update also adds emerging evidence from the United States, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Kenya, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Italy, Libya, India, Brazil, and Nepal.

A recent systematic review summarized international recommendations for breastfeeding and neonatal care in the event of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection. A joint statement of 6 scientific organizations presents current evidence of the COVID-19 vaccine’s compatibility with breastfeeding, also summarizing recommendations from Canada, the UK, and the USA. Another article details some of the mixed messages about COVID-19 vaccine safety that may be contributing to vaccine hesitancy among pregnant and breastfeeding healthcare workers. A new cohort study tested the breastmilk of women who had received COVID-19 vaccines, finding evidence of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies.

A recent study of breastmilk substitute marketing strategies across 14 countries found that many companies are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine breastfeeding and spread false health claims. Several publications in our update suggest that the breastmilk of mothers with SARS-CoV-2 infection may offer immune protections against COVID-19 to the breastfed infant. A recent case-control study identified SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies in the breastmilk of previously infected mothers, calling for more research into the protective effect of these antibodies to breastfed infants.

Several publications discuss the impact of restrictive visitation policies in neonatal ICUs on breastfeeding rates, including a survey of mothers in Libya. To help weigh the risk of viral infection with the benefits of breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact to child survival, a new tool is presented to help guide public health policy decisions regarding infant feeding and mother-infant contact during the COVID-19 pandemic and future outbreaks. Using this tool, it is estimated that in low- and middle-income countries under policies that promote maternal-infant separation and discourage breastfeeding infant deaths would be at least 67 times greater than those attributable to COVID-19 in infants.

This is by no means an exhaustive list! The next update for this specific repository will be on Wednesday 24 March 2021. If you know anyone who would benefit from these updates, please let me know.

Happy reading!

Mija Ververs 

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