Breastfeeding for COVID positive mothers
August 7, 2020
Breastfeeding lays the foundation for healthy growth and development. Skin to skin care, keeping the baby in the same room as the mother, kangaroo care- carrying the baby in a sling close to your body- are the best practices that provide babies with the ideal conditions for growth, but what should you do if you are COVID positive?
Caring for your newborn in the time of social distancing
Social distancing is the diametric opposite of ideal baby care practices. While keeping your baby close and breastfeeding will prevent distress and infant mortality, COVID guidelines emphasise distancing. So, what do you do?
WHO studies find that breastfeeding and close care for your infant does not cause infections if you wear a mask and practice strict hand hygiene. The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the risks of infection, which can be greatly reduced with precautions.
At the moment it is thought that COVID-19 does not spread through breast milk. More research is required for definitive results, but preliminary studies have found that infection does not spread through breast milk. It spreads primarily through respiratory droplets from mother or caregiver.
How to breastfeed if you are COVID positive?
If you are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms
- You can have the baby in your room
- Always wear a face mask
- Wash your hand thoroughly with soap and water before going lifting your baby
If you have fever and other severe symptoms
- You can have your baby in a separate room
- Wear a mask and wash your hands when your baby is brought for a feed
- Have your caregivers practice hand hygiene and wear a mask when they carry your baby
If you are too sick to breastfeed
- Have your baby in a separate room
- Your breast milk can be expressed and fed to your baby
- The caregiver must practice hand hygiene and wear a mask while handling your baby
You can discontinue isolation if
- At least 10 days have passed since onset of symptoms (20 days if you have had severe symptoms or are immune compromised)
- At least 24 hours have passed without fever without use of medications
- If your other symptoms have improved
These are just broad guidelines. Each baby is unique. Strictly follow your doctor’s advice in taking medications and caring for your baby.
For expert neonatal care and comprehensive paediatric services contact Dr. Rela Hospital & Medical Centre. We are a baby friendly hospital with best practices that focus on best baby care for optimum growth and development. We provide complete lactation guidance and diet counseling to set you on the right path to happy motherhood.