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 7 April 2021: Since our last update Wednesday 24 March 2021, we have added 23 NEW publications for March (21 new), and January (2 new).

All publications provide emerging evidence related to COVID-19 and

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

While there were several recent reviews of international literature, this update also adds emerging evidence from Greece, the United States, Brazil, Turkey, Belgium, Norway, Switzerland, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Argentina, France, Iran, and Poland.

More studies were published reporting on anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels in breast milk at various time points after administration of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines. One study reported that vaccine-induced immune responses detected in breast milk were stronger than those caused by natural SARS-CoV-2 infection. Two studies evaluated COVID-19 vaccine willingness among pregnant and breastfeeding mothers across Europe, with one reporting specific reasons for hesitancy.

A study of prenatal and postpartum recommendations across 33 countries noted considerable inconsistencies across Southeast Asia regarding mother-infant separation and breastfeeding recommendations in the context of maternal SARS-CoV-2 infection. Another study of newborn care practices across 24 hospitals in Brazil reports that the majority of hospitals prohibited mothers exposed to SARS-CoV-2 to have skin-to-skin contact and or initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of life; furthermore, most hospitals developed their own guidelines, which the authors attribute to regional socio-economic differences and lack of consistency across international guidelines.

Similarly, a survey of healthcare providers across 22 countries assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on family-centered care for hospitalized infants. Another article described the adaptation of family-centered care practices at a Chinese neonatal ICU, reporting comparable breastfeeding rates at discharge compared to before the pandemic which the authors attribute to the success of newly implemented strategies.

 

The next update for this specific repository will be on Wednesday 21 April 2021. To subscribe to receive updates on this repository (updated every two weeks) or our general repository on COVID-19, Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition (updated weekly), please contact Mija Ververs at mververs@jhu.edu or mververs@cdc.gov.


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