Breastfeeding is safe amid pandemic, DOH says
TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan, Aug. 21 (PIA) – – The Department of Health (DOH) region 2 has urged lactating mothers to continue to breastfeed their babies even if they are suspected, having symptoms or even tested positive for Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Nerissa Mabbayad, nutrition program manager, said breast milk contains anti-bodies that will protect the babies from illnesses.
She also said bottle feeding is more dangerous as it is prone to bacterial agents that may induce risks to the health and nutrition of the baby.
“Breastfeeding is very safe in this time of pandemic. This is what we advocate that mothers should not stop from breastfeeding,” Mabbayad said.
However, Mabbayad stressed that minimum health standards should also be observed by the lactating mothers like disinfecting of hands or hand washing, and wearing of face mask before handling their babies.
“We also advised mothers to avoid ‘separation’ from the baby so skin to skin contact is highly encouraged. We advocate ‘zero separation’ of the mother and the child even if the mother is positive for COVID-19. The baby will not be infected because of the antibodies present in the breastmilk,” Mabbayad said.
She also advised lactating mothers not to shift to formula milk for their babies as it is discouraged for infants up to 2 years.
Mabbayad said accepting of formula milk donations for babies during disasters is also prohibited under the Milk Code of the Philippines.
“There are risks and disadvantages of formula milk. In the preparation of bottled milk, it might be contaminated with bacteria that may cause diarrhea or other diseases. Second, it is not advisable for you to spend while experiencing pandemic if you can provide breastmilk for your babies that is much needed to ensure good health of the child,” Mabbayad added.
She also urged local officials not to include or accept formula milk as donations to include in the relief packs distributed to the lactating mothers. (MDCT/OTB 2/PIA-Cagayan)