Breast Feeding tips during Covid19 infection


The risks of COVID-19 to newborns to mothers with COVID-19 infections is much still unknown. The most common question asked is, if covid 19 can be passed through breast feeding?
Active covid-19 virus has not been detected in the breast milk of any mother with confirmed or suspected covid 19. Transmission of active COVID-19 (virus that can cause infection) through breast milk and breastfeeding has not been detected to date. Hence there is no reason to avoid or stop breastfeeding
WHO recommends that mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged, to initiate or continue breastfeeding. Mothers should be counselled that the benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission.
CDC has shared that
  • COVID-19 is uncommon in new-borns born to mothers who had COVID-19 during pregnancy.
  • Some newborns have tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after birth. It is unknown if these newborns got the virus before, during, or after birth.
  • Most newborns who tested positive for COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and recovered. However, there are a few reports of newborns with severe COVID-19 illness.
Breast feeding advice during covid 19
Take precautions if your newborn is rooming-in with you in the hospital.
If you are in isolation for COVID-19 and are sharing a room with your newborn, take the following steps to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to your newborn:
  • Wash 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
  • Routinely clean and disinfect any surface you touch
  • If you are too unwell to breastfeed or express breastmilk, restart the breastfeeding after a gap. It is better to express and feed the infant. Use your own breast pump, if possible. Ensure you are using a mask while expressing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water at least 20 seconds before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk.
  • Clean all parts of the pump that come into contact with breast milk.
  • Limit visitors to see your newborn
  • Keep distance between your baby and people who do not live in your household or who are sick

Keeping your baby safe and healthy

  • Do not put a face shield or mask on your baby
  • Children younger than two?should not wear masks.
  • A face shield could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)or accidental suffocation and strangulation. Babies move around, and their movement can cause the plastic face shield to block their nose and mouth or cause the strap to strangle them.
  • CDC does not recommend?use of face shields as a substitute for masks.
General Breast-feeding guidelines
  • Early and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact between mothers and infants should be facilitated and encouraged as soon as possible after birth
  •  Initiate breastfeeding with in 1 hour of the birth.
  • Exclusive breast feeding is recommended till 6 months and then weaning can be started
  • Continue breast feeding up to 2 years of age
  • If the mother is stressed or worried seek breast feeding counselling, psychological support and practical feeding support from a lactation consultant or a trained professional.
  • Mothers should be discouraged from giving any food or fluids other than breast milk, unless it is medically indicated
  • Mothers should be supported to recognize their infants’ hunger cues for feeding such as rooting, sucking etc.
Ms. Mini Thomas
Acting Chief Nursing Officer
Medcare Women & Children Hopsital, Dubai


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