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Breastfeeding during COVID-19

We understand how stressful it can be to navigate life as a new parent. With the added anxiety brought on by COVID-19, we want to share trusted information to breastfeeding mothers who are COVID-19 positive or suspected positive, on whether their milk is still safe and beneficial for their baby.

COVID-19 is a new disease and researchers are still studying how the disease spreads. However, breast milk remains the best source of nutrition for most infants.

Current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control states that a mother who has been confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 should take all precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant. These steps include:

  • Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before touching the infant.
  • Wear a face mask when breastfeeding if possible.
  • If using a breast pump, washing hands before touching the pump and following CDC recommendations for cleaning the pump after each use.
  • If bottle feeding pumped breast milk, have someone who is well feed the baby, if possible.

“Although there’s limited research available on whether COVID-19 is transmitted via breastmilk, studies on similar viruses did not find the virus in the milk,” said Dr. Reshmi Basu, a CHOC Children’s pediatrician. “A mother’s milk does contain specially made antibodies, produced by the mother’s body to protect her and her child from various viruses. These antibodies are transferred in breastmilk.”

If you have specific questions about breastfeeding and your baby, contact your pediatrician.

Get more information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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