To breastfeed or not to breastfeed? Science has long supported that “breast is best,” but COVID-19 has brought with it new questions related to the benefits and/or potential risks of breastfeeding during this pandemic.

Is the SARS-COV2 virus present in breast milk and could it be transmitted from mom to baby? Could antibodies found in breast milk actually help protect babies from the SARS-COV2 virus?

Researchers at Washington State University are part of a new nationwide study on COVID-19 and infant feeding to help answer these questions. Their work could ultimately help scientists better understand how COVID-19 affects the health and immune responses of mothers and babies and whether infant feeding practices play a role.

Courtney Meehan.
Meehan

“We don’t have the answers right now,” said Courtney Meehan, professor of anthropology in the WSU College of Arts and Sciences who has studied human milk composition and maternal-infant health in populations around the world.

The limited research conducted on this topic so far, she said, has yielded mixed results.

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