Jipmer recommends breastfeeding of babies for six months

Advisory says antiobodies are transmitted to children through the vaccinated mother’s milk

A Jipmer avisery on preventing COVID-19 among children has advocated breastfeeding of newborn for the first six months.

In a set of specific suggestions, Adhisivam B., neonatology chief at Jipmer, said that lactating mothers should get vaccinated against COVID-19. After delivery, even if the mother tested positive for SARS CoV-2, the baby and mother should not be separated.

All babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. SARS CoV-2 is usually not transmitted through breast milk. On the contrary, the baby will receive antibodies against SARS CoV-2 through mother’s milk, Jipmer said.

The mother should wear a mask while feeding the baby. She should keep her hands clean by frequently washing with soap and water or using sanitiser.

All children should receive the vaccines mentioned in the national immunisation schedule at the specified age. It is not necessary for children aged below 5 to wear masks.

Children infected with SARS CoV-2 may be asymptomatic. Some children can have fever, cough, cold or loose stools. If the infected child does not have respiratory distress, he/she can be isolated at home. In case of respiratory distress, it is mandatory to seek medical advice and care.

It is important to ensure that the affected children are not dehydrated. These children can be given more fluids such as rice gruel, tender coconut water, and fruit juice in addition to nutritious diet. Jipmer recommends ORS for loose stools and oral paracetamol for fever.

The advisory pointed to the possibility of children developing stress or depression due to extended home confinement; they should not taken to crowded places. It suggested engaging children in games at home to keep them active and happy and to stimulate their special talents.

Jipmer said while the severity of COVID-19 among children has been far less when compared to adults so far, there was no need to panic. However, infection should be prevented among children in the family only when the adults adopt wearing mask, hand hygiene, and social distancing even after vaccination against COVID-19.

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