06 August 2021

Breastfeeding safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you're a mother or expecting, it is only natural to have questions about what is safest for your baby during the COVID-19 pandemic. Evidence is overwhelmingly in support of breastfeeding. The transmission of COVID-19 through breastfeeding or by giving breastmilk has not been detected. Breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact and early, exclusive…, Should I breastfeed during the pandemic?, Yes. There is no evidence to date that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through breastfeeding. Breastmilk provides antibodies that give babies everywhere a healthy boost and protect them against many infections. Breastfeeding significantly reduces the risk of death in newborns and young infants, provides lifelong health benefits for children, and…, Can you pass COVID-19 to your baby by breastfeeding?, To date, active COVID-19 (virus that can cause infection) has not been detected in the breastmilk of any mother with COVID-19, so it is unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted through breastmilk. Researchers are continuing to test breastmilk from mothers with confirmed and suspected COVID-19.    , Should I breastfeed if I have or suspect I have COVID-19?, Yes, you should continue breastfeeding with appropriate precautions. The transmission of COVID-19 through breastmilk and breastfeeding has not been detected. Precautions include wearing a medical mask if available, washing your hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub before and after touching your baby, and routinely cleaning…, Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I'm breastfeeding or providing expressed milk?, Yes, the COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for healthy individuals who are lactating or expressing milk.    , Is it safe to continue breastfeeding after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?, Yes, you should continue breastfeeding after vaccination to protect your baby. None of the WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines currently being used contain the live virus, so there is no risk of passing the virus to your baby through breastmilk.    , What should I do if I’m too unwell to breastfeed?, If you are feeling too sick to nurse, try to find other ways to safely provide your child with breastmilk. Try expressing milk and giving to your child via a clean cup or spoon. You could also consider donor human milk if available in your area. Speak to your breastfeeding counsellor or healthcare professional about the options available to you.…, Should I breastfeed if my child is sick?, Continue to breastfeed your child if she becomes ill. Whether your little one contracts COVID-19 or another illness, it is important to continue nourishing her with breastmilk. Breastfeeding boosts your baby’s immune system, and your antibodies are passed to her through breastmilk, helping her to fight infections.    , What precautions should I take when breastfeeding?, Make sure to follow handwashing guidelines. Your hands should be washed with soap and water before and after touching your baby. You may also use an alcohol-based hand rub. It is also important to clean and disinfect any surfaces that you have touched. Wash breastmilk pumps, milk storage containers and feeding utensils after every use as usual.  , What coronavirus means for breastfeeding,   For more information on breastfeeding during COVID-19 see guidance by the  World Health Organization . Article by Mandy Rich, Digital Content Writer, UNICEF This article was originally published on 28 May 2020. It was last updated on 29 July 2021.