Is it safe to breastfeed when you have Covid-19?

Photo by kevin liang on Unsplash
Photo by kevin liang on Unsplash

The biggest concern new moms may have right now is: Can I still breastfeed if I have Covid-19? 

Medical professionals generally encourage breastfeeding, as there are many health benefits in breast milk that are great for the baby, and for mom too. 

Are those benefits safe or worth it now that we are facing the Covid-19? 

Benefits of breastfeeding

  • Breast milk provides optimal nutrition for babies.
  • It has the right amount of nutrients, is easily digested and readily available.
  • Breast milk is loaded with antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria.
  • Breastfeeding may reduce disease risk.
  • Breastfeeding helps the uterus contract.
  • Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of depression.
  • It also saves time and money.

Is it safe for a mother to breastfeed if she is infected?

If you're breastfeeding and you're infected, it is recommended you continue breastfeeding, as the virus has not been found in breastmilk.

However it is advised that you take extra caution.

Here is what you should do:

If you are going to do 'contact' breastfeeding, practice proper hygiene before feeding the baby. During contact feeding, wear a face mask to avoid sneezing or coughing directly on the baby. 

If you are expressing, use a clean breast pump to express milk, and bottle feed your baby to minimise contact. Sanitise and wash the pump and bottle before and after each use.

Sources: UNICEFCDC, Healthline

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