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We get it, the thought of breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic leads to the fear of passing the virus onto your newborn via breastmilk. Luckily, science says you have nothing to worry about. Studies have been done in both the U.S. and Italy showing that mother-to-infant COVID-19 transmission is rare.
In fact it is quite the opposite. Breastfeeding or receiving expressed breast milk is actually considered protection against COVID-19 infection. Your breastmilk can produce virus antibodies for your baby! It is suggested that breastmilk may have a protective role through the direct transmission of immunoglobulin A, or indirectly through the other immunological properties of breastmilk. This also means that donor milk can safely be distributed to those in need.
COVID-19 positive mothers who wear a mask and perform excellent hand hygiene can know it is safe to breastfeed and room-in with their newborn if they feel well enough to care for their baby.
On 12/14/2020 the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued a new Practice Advisory regarding vaccinating pregnant and lactating patients against COVID-19.
ACOG recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommended priority groups.
Vaccines currently available under emergency use authorization have not been tested in pregnant women. Therefore, there is no safety data specific to use in pregnancy.
Pregnant patients who decline vaccination should be supported in their decision.
Here are the CDC’s recommendations on how to stay safe:
- Wash your hands before touching your baby.
- Wear a cloth face covering, if possible, while breastfeeding.
- Wash your hands before touching your pump or bottle parts, and clean all parts after each use.
We at Healthy Horizons are here to help mothers and families succeed at breastfeeding. Healthy breastfeeding is our top priority, and is paramount during a global pandemic. If you have specific questions about your breastfeeding journey, reach out to our IBCLC experts today and schedule a Lactation Consultation.
- Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and Breastfeeding, Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Study: OK for moms with COVID, newborns to share hospital room, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (Italy), Dec. 7, 2020.
- Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients Against COVID-19, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Dec. 13, 2020.
Contact Healthy Horizons at Services@hh-bc.com or (650) 579-2726.