Any breastfeeding mother who contacts Coronavirus can still continue breastfeeding their babies as the virus cannot be transmitted through breastfeeding.
More so, breast milk carries antibodies to fight infections in babies including fortifying the baby against coronavirus pandemic.
The Director-General of Cross River State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong made these assertions and highlighted many benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and the child during an exclusive interview in Calabar to mark this year’s World Breastfeeding Week.
The theme for this year’s event is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”.
Dr. Janet maintained that “while the consequences of not breastfeeding and separation between mother and child can be significant, we encourage mothers, even if you have COVID-19, you can still breastfeed your child because the advantage surpasses the disadvantage.”
“Let’s not forget that COVID-19 run its course within two weeks; so the immunity of the child will still be very strong.
Therefore we encourage you to always breastfeed your child because it releases good antibodies that could fight any infection that might come the child’s way and your child will not be prone to all the childhood diseases such as common cold, diarrhea and several other childhood diseases that affect children who are not well breastfed.”
According to her, “For us as a state, the state government is committed to ensuring that our mothers have access to the necessary counseling and support that they require to see how they can actually initiate breastfeeding and sustain it especially exclusive breastfeeding for the next six months of the child’s life.
We are very committed that’s why our first point of call is to train our health workers, build their capacity on the right counseling or the right information they are supposed to be giving out to nursing mothers.
So, we train our health workers on how they can counsel our pregnant/nursing mothers to see how they can also provide all the psychological, medical and all the mental support that the mothers will require to breastfeed their children.”
The DG emphasized the benefits of breastfeeding to both the baby and the mother saying, “Breastfeeding has a lot of importance not just to the baby even to the mother.
For the child, it promotes quality health because it’s very nutritious and very healthy for the development of the child right from the beginning when the child is born.”
She added, “Breastfeeding is the best vaccination that you can give to a child. It helps the brain of the child to grow and every other part of the body and also it reduces the incidents and severity of diseases when a child is exclusively breastfed.
So if you don’t want to visit the hospital regularly, the best you can ever do for that child is to give that child a very good start to life by breastfeeding that child exclusively.”
“Breastfeeding is very healthy for the child because it helps to release antibodies which will fight any infections, therefore building very strong immunity for the child.
The severity of developing any disease is very low once a child is exclusively breastfed and the risk of Covid-19 is reduced because the immunity of the child is really boosted with exclusive breastfeeding.”