loading page

Breastfeeding in neonates during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic in China: a cross-sectional survey
  • +3
  • Zhuxiao Ren,
  • Dongchi Zhao,
  • Ming Yi,
  • Jiayu Miao,
  • J Yang,
  • Zhichun Feng
Zhuxiao Ren
Guangdong Women and Children Hospital
Author Profile
Dongchi Zhao
Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University
Author Profile
Ming Yi
Chongqing Three Gorges Center Hospital
Author Profile
Jiayu Miao
Guangdong Women and Children Hospital
Author Profile
J Yang
Guangdong Women and Children Hospital
Author Profile
Zhichun Feng
Bayi Children’s Hospital, Seventh Medical Center of PLA general hospital
Author Profile

Peer review status:UNDER REVIEW

02 Jun 2020Submitted to BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
05 Jun 2020Assigned to Editor
05 Jun 2020Submission Checks Completed
10 Jun 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
08 Jul 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending

Abstract

Abstract Objective: To elucidate the current situation of breastfeeding in neonates in China and to investigate whether SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted through the mother’s milk. Design: A nationwide cross-sectional survey Setting: Three hundred and forty-four member hospitals of the Chinese Neonatologist Association network from 31 provinces in China. Sample: Nine hundred and fourteen neonatologists Main outcome measures: These included (1) breastfeeding practices in the obstetrics ward; (2) breastfeeding implementation for neonates admitted to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU); (3) presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the breast milk of COVID-19 positive mothers based on the real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCT) test results. Results: Breastfeeding was undermined during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 344 hospitals, 153 (44.48%) centers received breast milk from milk banks to feed babies in NICU. Eight (2.33%) Level III centers performed SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests on breast milk from 15 mothers with COVID-19 and found no SARS-CoV-2 RNA presence in breast milk. Moreover, none of the mothers engaged in breastfeeding. Further, only 52 (5.69%) neonatologists supported breastfeeding in mothers with COVID-19. Conclusions: Based on the available evidence, the benefits of breastfeeding for both infants and mothers outweigh the potential risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission through breast milk. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, medical staff should encourage breastfeeding, in keeping with normal infant feeding guidelines, and provide skilled support to all mothers who choose to breastfeed.