Breastfeeding mothers infected with coronavirus unlikely to infect their babies

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Mothers with Covid-19 are unlikely to pass the virus to their newborns if simple infection control measures are in place, a small study suggests.

Researchers reported no cases of the disease in 120 babies born to infected mothers, even when both shared a room and the child was breastfed.

Mothers were required to wear surgical masks when handling their child and follow stringent hand and breast washing procedures.

Babies were also kept in enclosed cots six feet (1.8metres) away from their parent at all times except when breastfeeding.

The researchers behind the study say they hope it will reassure pregnant women that the risk of them passing Covid-19 to their child is low.

Mothers in the UK have been recommended to continue to breastfeed their newborns throughout the crisis.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said the benefits of breastfeeding significantly 'outweigh any potential risks of transmission'.

The latest study, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal, looked at 120 babies born to 116 Covid-19-positive women between March 22 and May 17.

All babies were tested for the virus via a nasal swab within 24 hours after birth and none tested positive.

Some of the mothers recovered from the coronavirus and were allowed home during the study, so only 79 babies were then tested again a week after birth.

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