Important research continues on the impact of SARS-CoV-2 (more commonly known as COVID-19) on breastfeeding and human milk. A new study, published on June 16, out of California by Chambers, et al has found no evidence of replication-competent virus in human milk of SARS-CoV-2-infected women. When viral RNA was detected in milk, it could not replicate and was not a likely source of infection for the infant.
Furthermore, the Holder pasteurization method, used by nonprofit Milk Banks all over North America to ensure a safe donor human milk supply, destroyed the viral RNA in spiked human milk samples.
This supports guidance from the WHO, CDC, and AAP that women can continue to breastfeed even after COVID-19 infection, with appropriate precautions. Additionally, donor human milk from nonprofit milk banks in North America continues to be the safest and most effective nutritional alternative when mother’s own milk is not available.
“We have suspected from earlier studies that COVID-19 positive moms’ milk does not contain this virus, but I am more confident than ever after this new study that breastmilk, breastfeeding and donor human milk are safe. As a neonatologist, safety for my patients is paramount,” said Dr. Jan Kennaugh, Neonatologist for 35 years and Medical Director of Mothers’ Milk Bank.
For new and expecting parents looking to ensure they have human milk available to their baby, Mothers’ Milk Bank is offering a Welcome Home Baby Kit. The kit includes five bottles of PDHM to feed baby while mom establishes her own milk supply after birth, along with breastfeeding resources and a Lactation Support Toolkit. Parents can order their Welcome Home Baby Kit by calling 303.869.1888 or visiting rmchildren.org/welcome-home-baby for more information.
Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 in Breastmilk from 18 Infected Women