COVID-19 has shaken the foundation of the world and has left many with unanswered questions on how to navigate everyday life during a pandemic. This global crisis may have left some mothers wondering whether or not they should breastfeed, and if doing so would expose their baby to a virus we are still learning more about.
Here are the facts:
- SARS-CoV-2, the virus that cause COVID-19, is primarily transmitted through droplets when a person sneezes, coughs, or talks.
- A newborn can be infected with the virus if they are in close proximity with an infected person.
- Limited data suggests that breast milk may not transmit the virus; however, more research is needed.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends nursing mothers with COVID-19 to wear a mask while breastfeeding and wash their hands at least 20 seconds between feedings.
- Mothers should not share breast pumps and should wear a mask and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds before handling supplies.
- Plastic face shields and masks for newborns are not recommended.
- Breast milk has been shown to provide a baby with antibodies to fight against viruses, but more research is needed to see if the same is true for SARS-CoV-2.
- Mothers with influenza have been able to safely breastfeed.
- Again, as we learn more about this virus, we will have a better understanding of its effects and its impact on breastfeeding.
Make sure you speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). If You Are Pregnant, Breastfeeding, of Caring for Young Children. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2020). Breastfeeding During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/COVID-19/Pages/Breastfeeding-During-COVID-19.aspx
World Health Organization. (2020). Breastfeeding and COVID-19. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/commentaries/detail/breastfeeding-and-covid-19
The American College of Obstetricians and Pediatrics. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19), Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding: A Message for Patients. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/coronavirus-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding#What%20is%20COVID19
Kids Health. (2020). Is It Safe to Breastfeed if I have Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/coronavirus-breastfeeding.html