If I test positive for COVID-19, can I breastfeed my baby?
Yes, you can. Currently, there is no evidence of the virus in breast milk. Generally separate or isolated room is provided for the mother who is COVID-19 positive or is a suspect case of COVID-19 and baby is kept in a separate room until the mother’s transmission-based precautions are discontinued.
- You should put on a facemask and practice hand hygiene before each feeding.
- Try and avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding at the breast
- During temporary separation, mothers who intend to breastfeed should be encouraged to express their breast milk to establish and maintain milk supply.
- If possible, a dedicated breast pump should be provided. Prior to expressing breast milk, mothers should practice hand hygiene. After each pumping session, all parts that come into contact with breast milk should be thoroughly washed and the entire pump should be appropriately disinfected as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- This expressed breast milk should be fed to the new-born by a healthy caregiver.
What are the alternatives to breastfeeding if I am too unwell due to COVID 19?
- You can follow the Expressing milk method as above or
- Relactation (starting up breastfeeding after a period of not breastfeeding)
- Donor human milk (human milk from human milk banks)