COVID-Positive Moms CAN Still Breastfeed

According to the CDC, “breast milk is not a likely source of SARS-CoV-2 transmission,” thus moms can still breastfeed with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Below are the CDC considerations for breastfeeding. To read the full article, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/care-for-breastfeeding-women.html. Read a portion of their article below.

Considerations for breastfeeding

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants, and it provides protection against many illnesses. There are rare exceptions when breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk is not recommended.

People without suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and who have not been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 do not need to take special precautions when feeding at the breast or expressing milk. All breastfeeding people regardless of COVID-19 status who are using breast pumps should be educated about CDC information on how to properly clean and sanitize their breast pump.

How to Protect the Breastfed Child

The following information can be used to counsel breastfeeding persons on precautions to take while feeding at the breast, expressing milk, or feeding from a bottle when the breastfeeding person

  • has suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or
  • has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and is not fully vaccinated.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, consider providing additional information on isolation and quarantine when counseling people with specific living situations, such as those living in close quarters or living in shared housing.

Isolation and quarantine

  • The breastfeeding person should follow information on quarantine or isolation.
  • A child being breastfed by someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be considered as a close contact of a person with COVID-19, and should be quarantined for the duration of the lactating parent’s recommended period of isolation and during their own quarantine thereafter.

Precautions while feeding at the breast, expressing milk, or feeding from a bottle

  • Breastfeeding people should follow these precautions during their recommended period of isolation:
    • Wash their hands using soap and water before touching their child or expressing breast milk either by hand expression or with a breast pump. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Wear a mask when they are less than 6 feet from the child (including when feeding at the breast or feeding from a bottle) and when expressing breast milk
    • Clean and sanitize breast pumps and all infant feeding items.
  • Any healthy caregiver, preferably one who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and not at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, may feed expressed breast milk to the child. If this person is not vaccinated and is living in the same house or has been in contact with the breastfeeding person, they should wear a mask while feeding the child for the duration of the lactating parent’s recommended period of isolation and during their own quarantine thereafter.
  • See more information on breastfeeding neonates in the hospital setting when the lactating parent has suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Other considerations

  • Some people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 may desire to breastfeed their child, but they may be unable to or choose not to during their COVID-19 illness. One reason may be that they are unable to access appropriate support. Healthcare professionals may refer patients to professional lactation support as needed. Reestablishment of lactation (or relactation) may be possible for some.
  • Breastfeeding people should be counseled to inform their child’s healthcare professional that their child has had close contact with a person suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 prior to any in-person healthcare visits or if the child develops symptoms of COVID-19.

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