Watch breastfeeding professionals lie about coronavirus and babies

Woman with long nose. Liar concept.

Lactation professionals lie and babies die!

Now they’re lying about coronavirus and babies, providing reassurance that may not merely be false; it may be deadly.

NO ONE KNOWS whether it is safe for an infected mother to breastfeed her baby!

Why do lactation professionals lie? Because they’ve forgotten about their ethical responsibilities. They are so obsessed with protecting breastfeeding they have forgotten they’re supposed to be protecting BABIES.

The result: while breastfeeding rates at hospital discharge have risen dramatically, the purported benefits have never been seen and the risks of brain injury and death have risen dramatically.

Lactation professionals are lying if they claim breastfeeding with coronavirus is safe. No one knows!

Lactation professionals have lied for decades:

– Breastfeeding saves lives? There is zero evidence that breastfeeding saves lives in industrialized countries; there are only mathematical models that have never been validated.

– Breastfeeding prevents serious illness? No, breastfeeding reduces the risk of colds and episodes of diarrheal illness, but every other claim has been debunked or is based on weak evidence that isn’t corrected for confounding variables.

– Breastfeeding saves healthcare dollars? No, breastfeeding has become the leading cause of newborn re-hospitalization at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Most egregiously, lactation professionals lie about the risks of breastfeeding and that’s why babies have died:

– Insufficient breastmilk is rare? No, it’s common, especially in the early days after birth, affecting up to a third of first time mothers.

– Severe newborn dehydration is rare? No, the rate for babies of first time mothers is 223 per 100,000 births. That sounds small until you consider that it’s DOUBLE the rate of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).

– Jaundice is nothing to worry about? Over 90% of cases of kernicterus (severe jaundice causing brain injury) occurs in exclusively breastfed infants.

– Newborn stomach size is only 5 ml? No, it’s 4X higher.

– Formula ruins the breastfeeding relationship? No, early judicious formula supplementation prevents complications and INCREASES the odds of extended breastfeeding.

Now lactation professionals are lying about breastfeeding and coronavirus and their arrogance may kill babies yet again.

NO ONE KNOWS whether it is safe for a woman to breastfeed if she is infected with coronavirus.

Let me say it again: NO ONE KNOWS!

NO ONE KNOWS whether coronavirus can be transmitted through breastmilk. While the existing evidence is reassuring it is also paltry. There are too few cases to draw any conclusions.

NO ONE KNOWS the risk of a nursing mother transferring coronavirus to her infant through respiratory droplets. It’s almost certainly quite high.

NO ONE KNOWS the risk to the baby of coronavirus itself. The Chinese experience was that the disease was mostly confined to older people, but the European and American experience has shown that coronavirus can and does sicken young people.

NO ONE KNOWS whether women who are infected will have antibodies to coronavirus in their breastmilk. It’s certainly possible, since the antibodies that are most likely to pass in breastmilk, IgA, can include antibodies to respiratory illnesses. But the bulk of antibodies produced by mothers in most diseases (IgG and IgM) don’t pass to infants through breastmilk.

What should we advise women about coronavirus and breastfeeding? No one knows and any lactation professional who tells you differently is not being honest.

When no one knows, the ethical obligation of medical professionals is to lay out the risks and benefits HONESTLY. Providing false reassurance is UNETHICAL.

When no one knows, medical professionals are forced to create protocols to prevent worse case scenarios (baby getting profoundly ill from coronavirus) because the opposite, letting babies get hurt, is UNETHICAL.

When no one knows, MOTHERS should be allowed to choose once they have been honestly informed of the risks and benefits.

It is possible that breastfeeding is the very best thing that an infected mother could do for her baby, but it is also possible that it is the very worst. NO ONE KNOWS!

And until we do know, breastfeeding professionals who offer false reassurance are lying and babies may die as a result.

  • Amazed

    OT: Two days ago, I went out to buy food. And while I was at it, I decided to go to the pharmacist’s as well. You know what? The panic surrounding shortages HAS subsided as we were going through our 8th day of quarantine. I could find toilet paper with no difficulty – granted, only the comparatively expensive brand but still! A few days earlier, there was NONE to be found. I found salt and grains where there had been none. And at the pharmacist’s, the formula cans were there, as numerous as ever.

    I can’t with the crazies claiming that there is a shortage of formula all over Dr Amy’s facebook page. I LIVED through shortages. Shortage was a way of life throughout my childhood. There was never a period where there wasn’t a shortage of at least one basic good. FFS, have a look at the old pictures from all Communist states to see the lines stretching down the streets when something was finally stocked because it was NOT produced in any amount sufficient for even part of the population.

    FFS, if you can buy whatever you want online, this ISN’T a shortage. It’s a stocking problem that emerged from people panic buying. Come on people! The situation is bad enough without fantacising about evils nonexistent.

  • Azuran

    I really can’t stop but rolling my eyes at people arguing if breastfeeding or formula feeding is more likely to transmit Covid or any other respiratory illness.
    As if feeding time was overwhelmingly the main transmission method.
    What about the other 95% of the day?
    What am I supposed to do when I’m sick? Wear a mask all day, wash my hands 1000 time a day, spray lysol throughout the house every 15 minutes, open the windows while it’s -15C, put my baby in his parc and let him cry all day because touching him might contaminate him (he’s super grabby and will not stop putting his hands in my face)?
    If I sneeze while feeding him, it really doesn’t matter if he’s drinking from my breast or a bottle. And it’s ridiculous to think that sneezing in my elbow and then instantly disinfecting myself is going to prevent him getting infected.

  • Anna

    The latest WHO advice to women too sick to breastfeed is – express, relactate, donor milk. Thats it. Its beyond insane. Like seriously – you can breastfeed lying down. Expressing, relactating and/or using donor milk are all harder to do than breastfeed directly. Risk of infection aside – if you can’t breastfeed directly because you are too unwell then how on EARTH is relactating a feasible option? You need to rest, take fluid and rest. I made a snarky comment the other day about LCs running around the ICU hooking people up to breast pumps. Doesnt seem so far fetched now. I’m surprised the friggin WHO didn’t mention using an SNS to give the donor milk!

  • fiftyfifty1

    I belong to a private nationwide COVID information Facebook group for clinicians. There was a post about formula being unobtainable due to the pandemic. There were so many posts about how we needed to be pushing women to breastfeed paraphrasing along the lines of “maybe this pandemic is the motivation that women need to realize how important breastfeeding is for their infants.” When I pointed out that reported formula shortages were largely a hoax (temporary localized shortages in a few areas, but still multiple ways to obtain formula and a robust supply chain) there was a lot of “shame on you” type pushback. Pretty lame. I think the tide is turning towards Fed is Best, but we still have a long way to go.

    • Heidi

      How horrible and idiotic! Even in a real famine type situation how successful is breastfeeding going to be when women are starving too?

    • Anna

      Even under the best situations our breastfeeding rates are low – not because women don’t want to do it but because of all the reasons we know, but not least of all the insistence on exclusivity. Its hardly going to be better when the usual supports are going to be very limited or completely unavailable. I would guess LCs will do Skype but very hard to get help with most breastfeeding complications without hands on help. I would imagine stuff like tongue tie cuts are going to be a very low priority, peer meetings etc will have to stop. Its very upsetting that clincians still seem to think the answer is just more berating, more scaremongering and more “importance of breastfeeding”. Imagine the mental health strain on a woman who thinks her baby can be effectively “immunized” by the nipple vacuum effect but is facing multiple challenges. Bloody shit.

    • Sarah

      I do hope you responded to those posts with the vitriol they deserve

      • fiftyfifty1

        Oh, I eventually got myself banned from the group for my unhelpful tone.

  • Young CC Prof

    It’s wrong at a level that goes beyond the health of the individual babies involved. Right now, any action that needlessly increases the risk of any vulnerable person (and neonates ARE vulnerable, though older children do well) contracting the virus harms the entire community.

    The hospitals are going to go to run out of critical supplies, people are going to die because there aren’t enough resources. In Italy, this is already happening. Doctors and nurses are risking their lives to care for patients under inadequate isolation. And into this utter catastrophe, these folks propose to risk creating additional ICU patients to support breastfeeding?

    The arrogance and carelessness is breathtaking.

  • Melissa Wickersham

    More research should be done. This lack of knowledge about how coronavirus affects babies is very alarming.

  • rational thinker

    I think it is safe to assume that because of misinformation spread by lactivist’s a lot of babies are going to be getting sick. Then when someone points it out to them that these babies are now sick from infected breastmilk they will just say ” these babies are sick now but they would be even more sick if they were fed formula so by drinking breast milk the sickness will be less severe” or some other bullshit along those lines.