To Breastfeed or not to Breastfeed? An Overview in the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 MSc of Operating Room, Department of Operative Room and Anesthetics, School of Paramedical, Sabzevar University of Medical Sciences, Sabzevar, Iran.

3 Student Research Committee, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Sirjan University of Medical Sciences, Sirjan, Iran.

4 Department of Midwifery, Nursing Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.

5 MD, Pediatric Nephrologist, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Nephrology, Dr. Sheikh Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

6 Student Research Committee, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.



Background: Despite the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and infants, many women refuse to breastfeed due to the lack of knowledge about the transmission of COVID-19 through breast milk. The present study aimed to summarize the latest evidence about breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Materials and Methods: In this overview, two independent researchers screened all reviews, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and scoping reviews that addressed breastfeeding in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Scopus, EMBASE, Cochrane, Web of Science, Medline, CIVILICA, and CINAHL databases available in full-text in Persian or English, without time restrictions up to November 2022.
Results: Vertical transmission from a mother with COVID-19 to her child cannot be confirmed or denied. There is no evidence of the virus in the amniotic fluid at the time of birth or in breast milk, so it is indicated that breastfeeding should be continued but under strict compliance with safety and hygiene measures. The World Health Organization still advises mothers suspected of or infected with COVID-19 to continue breastfeeding, taking into account the significant benefits of breastfeeding compared to its possible risks.
Conclusion: Breastfeeding is the best protective measure for healthy and at-risk infants and their mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Adherence to health protocols can reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 infection through breastfeeding from mother to baby.