A mum has gone viral on Instagram after sharing a photo of her breastmilk which she claims turned green after she tested positive for COVID-19.
"I really wanted to share this photo of my breastmilk! It actually 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 is breastmilk, it’s magical and I’m so thankful to be able to produce it especially now! The colour change indicates that my body is making exactly what Rubi needs! Antibodies, extra fatty and just pure goodness."
Her post quickly went viral amongst other mums, who took to the comments section to share their similar experience. "Literally so amazing!! Our bodies are AMAZING!!!" said one Instagram user, with another putting: "That’s exactly how mine looked." But, other mums weren't so sure, and questioned whether green breastmilk is safe for their baby.
With that in mind, we spoke to two midwives to find out: Can COVID-19 change your breastmilk? And, more importantly, is it safe to keep breastfeeding if you've tested positive?
Can COVID-19 change your breastmilk?
"Having COVID (or any infection or virus) changes the composition of a mother's breastmilk," explains Beth Kitt, NHS midwife and founder of The Bump to Baby Chapter. "When a mother is exposed to viruses in her surroundings, or when a mother catches a cold or COVID, she starts to build antibodies to fight it. These antibodies are passed through the breastmilk. This means that baby gets highly specific antibodies that it needs the most to fight against pathogens that 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 breastmilk according to any infections she's picked up, but it can do the same if baby is unwell too. "If a baby catches a cold or virus, the mother's body detects this through the baby's spit on her breast, then builds antibodies specific to the baby's cold or virus and sends it back through the breastmilk."
As for whether it's possible for breastmilk to change colour when this happens, Kitt explains that while "there is no consistent evidence to say that the colour of breast milk changes" some mothers "report the milk [turns] more orangey, green or blue after illness and some women notice no difference in colour at all."
But, infections aren't the only things that can potentially cause changes in a mother's breastmilk, as Louise Broadbridge (aka @thehonestmidwife) from Bluebell Baby Monitors points out. "What Mum eats can also have an impact on the colour of her breastmilk," Broadbridge explains. "Eating spinach can give breastmilk a green appearance whilst beetroot can turn things a little pink."
"No one would disagree that the human body is amazing in its capabilities to adapt to changes both within the external environment and within," she adds. "Therefore, as a midwife, it is no surprise to me to read recent reports of women asking why their breastmilk has changed colour having tested positive for COVID-19."
Is is 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 breastmilk," reassures midwife Broadbridge. "In actual fact it is thought that antibodies that mum develops through infection or vaccination can actually pass through to baby offering them their own little bit of protection – straight from mum!"
So, there you have it!
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