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.
“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.