Researchers in California have launched studies to look into how breastfeeding and breast milk are affected as they relate to COVID-19.
The Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation and The University of California San Diego School of Medicine are collaborating to look at the effects of breastfeeding during COVID-19, as well as breastfeeding best practices during an era of COVID-19 and whether breast milk protects babies against COVID-19.
The University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation have collaborated to launch twin studies into breastfeeding and breast milk as they relate to COVID- 19.
The Family Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation is a charitable organization that was founded to help ensure every child is given the best start in life through the benefits of human milk. It’s the only foundation worldwide that focuses mainly on promoting and supporting human milk and breastfeeding.
The two studies will look at whether COVID-19 is transmitted through human milk as well as whether or not breast milk can protect infants from COVID-19. They’ll also look at the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy and breastfeeding in general.
Dr. Lars Bode is the director of UC San Diego’s Larsson-Rosenquist Foundation Mother-Milk-Infant Center of Research Excellence. He said it’s already known that breast milk has properties that help protect babies from diseases like pulmonary infections and diarrhea. He says it’s imperative we look to see if the virus is found in breast milk and discover whether or not there are antiviral components in breast milk that could protect babies from the novel coronavirus.
Dr. Bode says that there is very limited data on how breast milk and breastfeeding impact COVID-19, but it’s critical to help stop the pandemic. He says this is so because of the need to protect the health of breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
The foundation is donating $100,000 to aid scientists at the research center, which will collaborate with other human milk research labs to see if the virus presents in breast milk. Additionally, they’ll be looking at antiviral properties in breast milk as well.
The observational study being done on the effects of COVID-19 on pregnancy and nursing is being done by the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists. This organization supplies evidence-based information about the safety of medicines and exposure on pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Dr. Christina Chambers is a pediatrics professor at the UCSD School of Medicine. She says that we need to find the answers about breastfeeding and pregnancy in the age of COVID-19 expeditiously as we know that pregnant and breastfeeding moms ARE contracting the virus. At this time, we know far too little about the short- and long-term effects on the baby.
The studies will look at women who live anywhere in Canada or the United States. Mothers will be interviewed by phone and asked to offer their medical records. Researchers will also watch the growth and development of the babies born in the study for at least one year.
Women who currently are breastfeeding and exposed to COVID-19 are also asked to enroll in UC San Diego’s Human Milk Biorepository to participate in a related study of breast milk. Samples of breast milk will be collected and information about the growth and development of the breastfed babies or toddlers will be tracked and recorded.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding or know someone who is and is interested in learning more about the study or how to enroll, you can go to www.mothertobaby.org/join-study/ or by calling Mother To Baby at 877-311-8972.