WSU researchers: Despite COVID-19 infection, it is safe to continue breastfeeding

PULLMAN, Wash. — Researchers at Washington State University have discovered that breastfeeding mothers who have COVID-19 transfer antibodies to their babies without passing along the virus.

The new study, published in mBio, looked at 37 milk samples submitted by 18 women infected with COVID-19. None of the milk samples studied contained the virus, but nearly two-thirds of the samples did contain two antibodies specific to COVID-19.

“The results indicate that it is safe for moms to continue to breastfeed during a COVID-19 infection with proper precautions,” Courtney Meehan, a WSU anthropology professor and co-author on the study, said.

Meehan and WSU graduate student Beatrice Caffé were part of the multi-institutional research team led by the University of Idaho.

The researchers are continuing work in this area and have now enrolled about 50 women who were diagnosed with COVID-19. Researchers are confident results from future larger studies will support, expand and confirm the initial findings.