COVID-19, Breastfeeding, Infant Feeding, and Breast Milk

What Does the Science Tell Us?

This repository is compiled by the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health and provides an overview of what peer-reviewed journal articles currently state on COVID-19, breastfeeding, infant feeding, and breast milk. As the pandemic is ongoing, more and more research results are published. With this service, we aim to provide the user with a snapshot of what is published with updates every two weeks. We hope that you will learn and benefit from the articles presented here. 





UPDATE 20 November 2020: Since our last update Friday 6 October 2020, we have added 20 NEW publications for:

November

(7 new)

October

(11 new)

September

(1 new)

April

(1 new)

All publications provide emerging evidence related to COVID-19 and

  • Breastfeeding and breast milk (including viral transmission issues)
  • Infant feeding recommendations
  • Feeding difficulties in newborns

While there were several recent reviews of international literature, this update also adds emerging evidence from France, China, Italy, Germany, Pakistan, and the United States.

Topics in this update include the nutritional benefits and immune protections of breast milk, including the role of lactoferrin in protecting newborns from SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Others offer feeding recommendations to support the nutritional needs of at-risk infants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While some articles discuss the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in breast milk, others discuss the presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and the possibility of breast milk providing passive immunity to infants. Other studies evaluated whether COVID-19 affects breast milk production and levels of lipids, proteins, and bacterial metabolites. Other articles explore the utility of Holder pasteurization to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in human milk and whether milk's protective properties can be preserved in the process.

Some studies observe the outcomes of newborns who were not separated from their mothers and allowed to breastfeed directly in the hospital. On the other hand, shortages of space and nursing staff may be affecting hospitals' ability to allow mothers with COVID-19 to room in and directly breastfeed their unaffected newborns, even when hospital policy allows it. Also reported are trends in breastfeeding discontinuation and lack of breastfeeding support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next update for this specific repository will be on Friday 4 December 2020.


To subscribe to receive updates on this repository (updated every two weeks) and our general repository COVID-19, Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition (updated weekly), please contact Mija Ververs at mververs@jhu.edu 


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