A mum has gone viral on Instagram after sharing a photo of her breast milk which she says turned green after testing positive for COVID-19.
“I really wanted to share this photo of my breast milk! It let me know something was going on in my body,” Wellness Coach Ashmiry wrote in the post, alongside a photo of her breastmilk. “How amazing breast milk is, it’s magic and I’m so grateful to be able to produce it, especially now! The color change indicates that my body is making exactly what Rubi needs! Antibodies, extra fats and just pure good.”
Her post quickly went viral among other mums, who took to the comments section to share their similar experience. “Literally amazing!! Our bodies are AMAZING!!!” said one Instagram user, with another putting, “That’s exactly what mine looked like.” But other mums weren’t so sure and wondered if green breast milk was safe for their babies.
With that in mind, we spoke to two midwives to find out: Can COVID-19 change your breast milk? And, more importantly, is it safe to continue breastfeeding if you’ve tested positive?
Can COVID-19 change your breast milk?
“Having COVID (or any infection or virus) changes the composition of a mother’s breast milk,” says Beth Kitt, NHS midwife and founder of The Bump to Baby Chapter. “When a mother is exposed to viruses in her environment, or when a mother catches a cold or COVID, she begins to make antibodies to fight it. These antibodies pass through breast milk. This means the baby receives highly specific antibodies that baby needs most to fight the pathogens baby is exposed to in their environment.”
Sounds pretty smart if you ask us! But that’s not all. Not only can the mother’s body adapt breast milk based on the infections she has acquired, but it can do the same if the baby is not feeling well. “If a baby catches a cold or a virus, the mother’s body detects it through the baby’s saliva on her breast, then builds antibodies specific to the baby’s cold or virus and passes it back into the breast milk.”
As to whether it’s possible for breastmilk to change color when this happens, Kitt explains that although “there is no consistent evidence to say that the color of breastmilk changes,” some mothers “report than milk [turns] more orange, green or blue after illness and some women notice no color difference.”
But, infections aren’t the only thing that can potentially cause changes in breast milk, as Louise Broadbridge (aka @thehonestmidwife) of Bluebell Baby Monitors points out. “What mom eats can also impact the color of her breast milk,” says Broadbridge. “Eating spinach can make breast milk look green while beets can make things look a little pink.”
“No one would dispute that the human body is amazing in its ability to adapt to changes both in the external environment and internally,” she adds. “Therefore, as a midwife, I am not surprised to read recent reports from women asking why their breast milk changed color after testing positive for COVID-19.”
Is it safe to breastfeed if you have COVID-19?
“The NHS continues to reassure breastfeeding mothers that the infection cannot be passed to their baby through breast milk,” reassures midwife Broadbridge. “In fact, it’s thought that the antibodies mum develops through infection or vaccination may actually pass on to the baby offering her own little protection – straight from mum!”
So this is it!
For the latest information and advice on Covid-19, visit the NHS website.
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