(updated 4 April 2020) See below for all the in-depth information & references…
There is currently no clinical evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted through breastmilk. To date, the virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk. Infection control measures are concentrated on avoiding the spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets.
Per the World Health Organization, “Mothers and infants should be enabled to remain together and practise skin-to-skin contact, kangaroo mother care and to remain together and to practise rooming-in throughout the day and night, especially immediately after birth during establishment of breastfeeding, whether they or their infants have suspected, probable or confirmed COVID-19 virus infection.”
Keep an eye on the latest guidance from your national government and the World Health Organization (WHO), as these could change as more information becomes available.
No symptoms of COVID-19?
Everyone: Practice social distancing, frequent hand washing, and other measures recommended to prevent infection.
Breastfeeding: Keep Breastfeeding. If you’re thinking about weaning, consider waiting until the health emergency is over.
Pumping: Wash hands before touching pump or bottle parts. Follow best practices for pump cleaning.
Formula Feeding: Follow best practices for preparing formula and sterilizing equipment.
Anyone not feeding at the breast: Limit the number of people who feed your baby.
If you have COVID-19 (or suspect you have it)
(Symptoms of Coronavirus from the CDC)
- Wash hands frequently; Clean and disinfect surfaces that you touch
- Avoid the spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets
- Avoid contact with others who are well (except when breastfeeding your baby)
- Follow all other currently recommended measures for preventing infection
If you are breastfeeding:
- Continue breastfeeding if possible
- Wash hands before and after feeding/holding baby (wash frequently if you’re holding baby much of the time)
- Wear a mask whenever you are near baby (or find another way to keep respiratory droplets from contacting baby)
If you are pumping:
- Wash hands before touching pump or bottle parts
- Follow best practices for pump cleaning
Anytime baby is not fed at breast:
- If possible, have a healthy person care for and feed baby for any feedings where baby is not breastfed
Severely ill mothers who are hospitalized:
- If possible, keep mother and baby together and support mother to breastfeed
- Help to express milk if mother and baby are separated
Keeping it Clean: Cleaning Pumps, Safe Preparation of Formula
How to prepare infant formula and sterilise feeding equipment to minimise the risks to your baby from Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative
Social Distancing, Quarantine, & Self-Isolation
Tips For Social Distancing, Quarantine, And Isolation During An Infectious Disease Outbreak from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Social Distancing: Why Keeping Your Distance Helps Keep Others Safe from the American Academy of Pediatrics
A guide to self-isolation or quarantine with Covid-19 by two Australian GPs, Dr Wendy Burton, MBBS FRACGP (Hon) and Dr Kat McLean, MBChB FRACGP FRNZCGP
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