Busting of myths and misconceptions about breast feeding during COVID-19 pandemic and its societal importance: a brisk review


  • Dharitri Swain College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
  • Swayam Pragyan Parida Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India
  • Hrushikesh Das College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India




Breast feeding myths, Breastfeeding practice, Breast feeding counselling, COVID-19


COVID-19 considered as a public health emergency of International concern and thus a pandemic with the explosive increase rate of infection worldwide and at the same time, the healthcare system is struggling for survival and the government is striving to regain the trust of the population. According to the WHO, mothers with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 can breastfeed their babies as long as they take appropriate precautions. Although creating awareness and providing adequate information to the mother and general public about breastfeeding benefits, still people believe in several myths and misconceptions due to fear of the COVID-19 pandemic. These personal beliefs, misconceptions, myths, and cultural practices can have a negative impact on breastfeeding which may discourage breastfeeding practice among women. This brisk review intends to compile the latest available evidence about myths, cultural practices preventing breastfeeding during COVID 19 pandemic. We searched works of literature related to breast feeding during COVID -19 published between December 2019, and August 2020, in website archive of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, World Health Organization (WHO), Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICE), journal repositories such as Google Scholar, Pub Med, Science Direct, newspaper article etc. We identified 30 studies that met the search criteria for inclusion in the review. The evidence presented here related to the common believes may alleviate the potential source of anxiety related to COVID-19 breast feeding issues who are still dependant on the societal misconception  not the evidence.

Author Biographies

Dharitri Swain, College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS) Bhubaneswar,

Swayam Pragyan Parida, Department of Community Medicine and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Dept of Community medicine and Family medicine,

Hrushikesh Das, College of Nursing, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India



WHO Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Dashboard. Available at https://covid19.who.int/. Accessed on 28 July 2020.

Davanzo R, Moro G, Sandri F, Agosti M, Moretti C, Mosca F. Breastfeeding and coronavirus disease 2019: interim indications of the Italian Society of Neonatology endorsed by the Union of European Neonatal amp; Perinatal Societies. Matern Child Nutr. 2020;16(3):887-92.

Food safety: importance for at-risk groups. Available at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/food-safet. Accessed on 30 August 2020.

World Health Organization. Guideline: protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding in facilities providing maternity and newborn services. WHO. 2017;120.

Zimmermann P, Curtis N. COVID-19 in Children, Pregnancy and Neonates. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2020;39(6):469-77.

Zimmermann P, Curtis N. Coronavirus Infections in Children Including COVID-19. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2020;39(5):355-68.

Wang L, Shi Y, Xiao T, Fu J, Feng X, Mu D, et al. Chinese expert consensus on the perinatal and neonatal management for the prevention and control of the 2019 novel coronavirus infection. Ann Transl Med. 2020;8(3):47.

Favre G, Pomar L, Qi X, Saines K, Musso D, Baud D. Guidelines for pregnant women with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020;20(6):652-3.

Zhu H, Wang L, Fang C, Peng S, Zhang L, Chang G, et al. Clinical analysis of 10 neonates born to mothers with 2019-nCoV pneumonia. Transl Pediatr. 2020;9(1):51-60.

Chen H, Guo J, Wang C, Luo F, Yu X, Zhang W, et al. Clinical characteristics and intrauterine vertical transmission potential of COVID-19 infection in nine pregnant women: a retrospective review of medical records. Lancet. 2020;395(10226):809-15.

Wang S, Guo L, Chen L, Liu W, Cao Y, Zhang J, et al. A Case report of neonatal 2019 coronavirus disease in China. Clin Infect Dis. 2020;71(15):853-7.

Chen Y, Peng H, Wang L, Zhao Y, Zeng L, Gao H, et al. Infants born to mothers with a new coronavirus (COVID-19). Front Pediatr. 2020;8:92-9.

Li Y, Zhao R, Zheng S, Chen X, Wang J, Sheng X, et al. Lack of vertical transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, China. Emerg Infect Dis. 2020;26(6):1335-6.

Morales S. Myth and the construction of meaning in mediated culture. Kome. 2013;1(2):75-9.

Sahoo S, Padhy SK, Ipsita J, Mehra A, Grover S. Demystifying the myths about COVID-19 infection and its societal importance. Asian J Psychiatr. 2020;54:1022-44.

Burns PB, Rohrich RJ, Chung KC. The levels of evidence and their role in evidence-based medicine. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011;128(1):305-10.

Busted: 14 myths about breastfeeding. UNICEF Parenting. Available at https:// www. unicef. org/ parenting/food-nutrition/14-myths-about-breastfeeding. Accessed on 28 August 2020.

Breastfeeding rates. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/data/reportcard.htm. Accessed on Accessed on 28 August 2020.

11 Myths and facts about breastfeeding-Slurrp Farm. Available at https:// slurrpfarm. com/ blogs/ blog/ myths-and-facts-about-breastfeeding. Accessed on 28 July 2020.

Mythbusters. Available at https:// go. discovery. com/ tv-shows/ mythbusters/. Accessed on 28 July 2020.

MoHFW, Home. Available at https://www.mohfw.gov.in/. Accessed on 28 August 2020.

Carbone M, Green JB, Bucci EM, Lednicky JA. Coronaviruses: facts, myths, and hypotheses. J Thorac Oncol. 2020;15(5):675-8.

Detail Question and Answers on COVID-19 for Public. Available at https:// www. mohfw. gov. in/pdf/FAQ.pdf. Accessed on 28 August 2020.

European paediatric association (epa / unepsa). Available at http://www.epa-unepsa. org/ ?q =page/epa-unepsa-meetings. Accessed on 28 August 2020.

Breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic | UNICEF East Asia and Pacific. Available at https://www.unicef.org/eap/breastfeeding-during-covid-19. Accessed on 30 July 2020.

Faff vs fact: 9 popular breastfeeding myths debunked - health and fitness - Hindustan Times. Available at https://www.hindustantimes.com/health-and-fitness/faff-vs-fact-9-popular-breastfeeding-myths-debunked/story-las7xWNlOhtJUKa9KMV51H.html. Accessed on 29 July 2020.

Formica S, García C, Senoussi M, Brass M. Neural oscillations dissociate between maintenance and proceduralization of novel instructions. BioRxvi. 2020;1-43.

Hanson LA. Comparative immunological studies of the immune globulins of human milk and of blood serum. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 1961;18(5):241-67.

Bardanzellu F, Peroni DG, Fanos V. Human breast milk: bioactive components, from stem cells to health outcomes. Curr Nutr Rep. 2020;9(1):1-13.

Sankar MJ, Sinha B, Chowdhury R, Bhandari N, Taneja S, Martines J, et al. Optimal breastfeeding practices and infant and child mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acta Paediatr. 2015;104:3-13.

Victora CG, Bahl R, Barros AJD, França GVA, Horton S, Krasevec J, et al. Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. Lancet. 2016;387(10017):475-90.

WHO Scientific Brief. Breastfeeding and COVID-19. Available at https:// apps. who. int/ iris/ handle/10665/332639. Accessed on 27 August 2020.






Review Articles