Breastfeeding and COVID-19

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

So now that it's August and more and more information has been coming out about COVID-19, I think it's about time that I share some of the frequently asked questions my clients have asked about breastfeeding with COVID.

Below, we will talk about 5 common COVID and Breastfeeding questions. If you have any of your own questions, feel free to reach out!

Is it safe to breastfeed my baby if I'm positive for COVID-19?

Yes. Breastmilk is always the optimal food for infants. No evidence shows that COVID can be passed through breastmilk. Alternatively, we know that mother's milk supports the infant immune system and helps reduce the risk of many illnesses and viruses.

Should my baby still be placed skin to skin after birth, even if I'm COVID positive?

Absolutely. The benefits of skin to skin care and early initiation of breastfeeding outweigh the risks of viral transmission to the newborn. Early initiation of breastfeeding reduces the risk of neonatal mortality and improves breastfeeding outcomes. Prioritizing breastfeeding is extremely important for protecting your infant from the risks of COVID-19.

If I am positive for COVID-19 and choose to keep my baby close, how can I protect my infant from COVID?

  1. Frequent hand washing with soap and water

  2. The WHO recommends wearing a medical face mask when in close contact with your baby

  3. Sneeze or cough into tissues and dispose of it immediately. Be sure to wash your hands after.

Is it necessary to wash my breasts before breastfeeding or expressing milk?

This is generally not recommended or required. However, if a mother has recently sneezed or coughed on her chest, it is suggested to clean the area before feeding.

If a mother with COVID 19 is unable to breastfeed, what should she do?

Expressed breastmilk is the next best food source for babies.

If the mother is struggling to make enough milk, other options are donor milk, wet nursing, and properly prepared infant formula.

woman of color mother breastfeeding her baby in a reclined position text says 5 common questions COVID 19 and Breastfeeding

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Jaimie Zaki is an Licensed Practical Nurse, IBCLC, Doula, and Motherhood Photographer. Jaimie is dedicated to supporting women in reaching their birth and breastfeeding goals by fostering confidence and autonomy. Jaimie provides online birth and breastfeeding education, in home lactation support, virtual doula services, and home birth support. Jaimie is a mother of three and proud Air Force wife.

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