Will getting infected by COVID-19 turn your breastmilk yellow with antibodies? 🤔
Find out what happened, and what the facts really are!
Claim : COVID-19 Turns Breastmilk Yellow With Antibodies!
A mother, who apparently was infected with COVID-19, shared a photo of her frozen breastmilk, saying….
Breastmilk is truly amazing! This was my milk just a few weeks before I had Covid (right). The other milk (left) is filled with my antibodies to protect my babies.
It naturally went viral, with mothers sharing it as evidence of the power of breastmilk.
Some even suggested that scientists should look at using such yellow breastmilk as a treatment for COVID-19 patients.
Will COVID-19 Turn Breastmilk Yellow With Antibodies? The Facts…
As amazing as breastmilk may be, and as much as we encourage breastfeeding, it’s not right to make such claims. Here are the reasons why…
Fact #1 : There Has Been NO Research On Colour Change
There has been ZERO research on breastmilk changing colour because of a COVID-19 infection, so no one can definitively say either way.
Fact #2 : Breastmilk Changes Colour In A Single Feeding
Breastmilk colour actually changes during a feed. This may not seem obvious to breastfeeding mothers, but those who express their milk will notice the change.
The foremilk (left), which looks white and watery, is what flows out first when your baby starts feeding. It has a higher water and lactose content.
The hindmilk (right), which looks thicker and yellowish, is what flows out later. It has higher fat content.
It’s not that your breast makes different milk at different times. It makes only one kind of milk.
It’s just that the more watery part of the milk flows easier down the ducts, than the thicker fats that tend to stick to the milk secreting cells and moves slower down the ducts.
So the picture that the mother posted may be nothing more than normal colour changes in the milk – literals, hind milk versus fore milk.
Here is a picture of fore milk (left) and hind milk (right) from the same mother in a single pumping session.
Fact #3 : Breastmilk Can Change Colour With Diet / Medication / Supplement
In addition to natural changes in the body, breastmilk can also change colour with diet and/or medication / supplements.
Foremilk can look white or even bluish, while hindmilk can look creamy white or yellow.
Breastmilk can turn green, if you eat a lot of vegetables or certain herbs or supplements, or green-coloured drinks like Gatorade.
Beets and orange- or red-coloured drinks, can turn your milk pink, orange or even red in colour!
If your breastmilk looks brown (rust-coloured) or dark orange, it just means there is some blood in it. It may also get blood-tinged if you have cracked nipples.
Fact #4 : A Small Study Found COVID-19 Antibodies In Breastmilk
A small study of 15 mothers who contracted and recovered from COVID-19 found significant secretory Immunoglobulin A (sIgA) and some IgG antibodies in 12 of their breastmilk samples (80%), but not for IgM.
This is a preprint, which has not been peer-reviewed, and a very small study. Therefore, it only suggests that further research is warranted.
It also does NOT suggest that the detected antibodies have any protective effect on the child. That requires… yes, MORE RESEARCH!
Fact #5 : Scientists Are Looking At Breastmilk Transmission Of COVID-19
Scientists are concerned that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can also be transmitted from the mother to the child through breastmilk, so they did a living systematic review of mothers with COVID-19.
A total of 46 mother-infant dyads were selected for the study, in which all mothers were COVID-19 positive, but only 13 of their infants tested positive.
When their breastmilk samples were tested, 3 came back positive for SARS-CoV-2 particles, while the other 43 were negative.
Of the 3 mothers whose breastmilk had SARS-CoV-2 particles, only one infant tested positive for COVID-19. However, it was impossible to know how the infant was infected – through breastmilk, respiratory droplets from the mother, or even another infected close contact.
It is important to note that this does NOT mean SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted through breastmilk. It merely means more research is required!
The fact that the other two infants did not contract COVID-19 from their mothers also is not proof that breastmilk protects against SARS-CoV-2. It merely means, yes – MORE RESEARCH is needed!
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