There was a lot of uncertainty about this early on, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that COVID-positive mothers can (and do) breastfeed safely.
Evidence thus far indicates that the coronavirus has not been detected in infected women’s breastmilk.
Note: studies are getting underway to explore: 1) whether it’s possible to transmit COVID-19 through breastmilk (again, so far this has not been documented), and 2) whether breastmilk has any capacity to protect against COVID-19 (there’s some preliminary evidence suggesting that it might). (Want to participate?)
OB/GYNs are generally not seeing problems with infected babies, and the current consensus is that you can and should still breastfeed (or continue to) if that was/is your wish.
Most health experts (ranging from individual health professionals to organizations like the CDC, La Leche League, ACOG, the AAP, and the American Academy of Breastfeeding), are encouraging mothers with COVID-19 to continue (or start) breastfeeding.
**Since the primary mode of transmission is through breathing, these same groups also stress the need to take extra precautions — like washing your hands for 20 to 30 seconds and wearing a mask — before/during nursing and pumping.
Indeed, experts say that the biggest “risk” when breastfeeding with COVID stems from the close proximity of nursing (or hygiene oversight with pumping and bottle feeding). IOW, breastmilk itself poses no evident risk, but snuggling up with a baby without the basic protections (i.e., PPE) could.
“Currently, the primary concern is not whether the virus can be transmitted through breastmilk, but rather whether an infected mother can transmit the virus through respiratory droplets during the period of breastfeeding.”~ The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
You guys — this sucks. So much. We are so sorry for those of you who are/may be faced with this situation and forced to make difficult decisions and/or breastfeed with a mask.
Our advice would be to talk to your doctor, follow your gut, and do what feels right for you, even if it means pumping and having a partner feed the baby. Or using formula. Because at the end of the day, we’re basically in survival mode right now. “Fed is best” really does apply here. We just need to get through this however we can.
Go forward with courage, you can do this!!!