COVID-19 | Sourcing Breast Milk From Milk Banks Is Safe With Standard Precautions: Expert

COVID-19 infected mother can provide skin to skin contact and breastfeed immediately after delivery by practising hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.

Breastfeeding or sourcing breast milk from milk banks with standard precautions has been found to be safe in coronavirus times.

A breast milk bank or human milk bank is a service that collects, screens, processes, and dispenses by prescription human milk donated by nursing mothers who are not biologically related to the recipient infant.

“For infants who cannot get mother’s milk for whatever reason, the next best option is pasteurized donor human milk from a scientifically operated standard milk bank. He further said that there is convincing evidence in preprint scientific journals that COVID virus is killed by pasteurizing milk by holder pasteurisation method,” Ketan Bharadva, president of Human Milk Banking Association (India) and head of the Infant and Young Child Feeding Chapter of Indian Academy of Paediatrics, was quoted as saying by a news agency.

“Sourcing milk from milk banks is safe during COVID. If mother’s milk is not available for whatever reason, the next best option for such infants is pasteurized donor human milk from a scientifically operated standard milk bank,” Bharadva added.

Potentially harmful germs from milk are removed by holder pasteurization (HoP). In this process, milk is heated up to 62.5 degrees Celsius for half an hour, and then cooling it back down to room temperature.

According to the doctor, the pasteurized donor milk is a scarce product as compared to its demand. And this is why it is given to preterm babies who are unable to get enough mother’s own milk, among others.

Babies whose mothers have lactation failure or those with surgical gastrointestinal issues like short gut syndrome, sepsis, and post surgical gut healing in omphalocele, gastroschisis, bowel obstruction and intestinal fistulas are also given this milk, he added.

Experts have already explained that there is no evidence of vertical transmission of the active virus from coronavirus positive mothers to their unborn or newborn and also through breast milk.

Moreover, COVID-19 infected mother can provide skin to skin contact and breastfeed immediately after delivery and the child can remain with the mother in the same room by practicing hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene.

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