Breast milk effective against infections: Pediatrician

ISTANBUL

Breast milk, a living fluid, not only provides nourishment to infants, but it strengthens the immune system and protects them from infection, according to a Turkish pediatrician.

“Studies show that infants who breastfeed for a year are 50% less likely to get an infection than other babies,” said Nalan Karabayir, who teaches pediatric health and disease at Medipol Mega University Hospital in Istanbul.

Protect antibodies in breast milk against COVID-19

Antibodies to the coronavirus have been found in the milk of vaccinated mothers and babies can be protected in this way.

Karabayir said if the mother is vaccinated against the coronavirus, it will protect her and her baby from infection.

Karabayir mentioned the effects of COVID-19 on mothers and infants, referring to studies, and said the pandemic affects children of all ages, but with our current knowledge, it is accepted that it is not transmitted through breast milk.

“Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, which are found in the mother who has had a COVID-19 infection, are also known to pass into breast milk and protect the baby from infection,” she said.

Breastfeeding is known to be safe as long as mothers strictly adhere to isolation practices, such as wearing masks, social distancing and hygiene, she said.

Emphasizing that live cells of the mother’s immune system are present in breast milk, Karabayir said: “Thanks to breast milk, the baby gets 1.5 million live cells per milliliter. [0.03 ounce] of milk. “

The World Health Organization and groups concerned with infant and child health suggest that babies should breastfeed for the first six months and that breastfeeding should be continued until they are at least 2 years old, she said.

Karabayir underlined that babies are born before their immune systems are fully mature. “Physical and chemical conservators have not yet been developed postnatally. For this reason, they need immunological components in breast milk to combat microorganisms that can cause infections.”

“In addition to the nutritional properties of breast milk, the live cells, probiotics, cytokines, immunoglobulins and oligosaccharides it contains protect the baby from infection. For these reasons, breast milk is unique,” she added.

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