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No Evidence Breastfeeding Can Transmit Coronavirus

HealthDay News
by Robert Preidt
Updated: Jan 19th 2022

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 19, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Breastfeeding moms can rest easier: New research finds no evidence their milk transmits the virus that causes COVID-19 to their babies.

“Breast milk is an invaluable source of nutrition to infants," said lead author Dr. Paul Krogstad of the University of California, Los Angeles.

"In our study, we found no evidence that breast milk from mothers infected with COVID-19 contained infectious genetic material and no clinical evidence was found to suggest the infants got infected, which suggests breastfeeding is not likely to be a hazard," Krogstad said in a news release from the journal Pediatric Research, which published the findings Jan. 18.

His team analyzed breast milk samples donated by 110 lactating women between March and September of 2020. Of those women, 65 had a positive COVID test; nine had symptoms but tested negative; and 36 had symptoms but were not tested.

SARS-CoV-2 genetic material (RNA) was found in the breast milk of seven women (6%) with confirmed infection or symptoms. A second sample taken from the seven women between one and 97 days later contained no SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

No infectious SARS-CoV-2 genetic material with replicating viral particles, known as SgRNA, was found in the seven samples, or from the other women in the study. There was no clinical evidence of infection in the infants of the seven mothers with viral material in their milk.

The authors noted that this was a small study and may not cover all the potential factors that could predict the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in breast milk.

But they added that it is the largest study so far to examine possible COVID-19 infection through breast milk and provides evidence that breastfeeding women with confirmed or suspected cases don't infect their babies.

More information

La Leche League International has resources for breastfeeding mothers in the coronavirus era.

SOURCE: Pediatric Research, news release, Jan. 18, 2022