The short answer is YES! Breastmilk actively helps newborns avoid disease in a variety of ways.
If you show any of the symptoms of Covid-19, get tested and seek medical care immediately.
Common symptoms are: Fever, tiredness and a dry cough. Some people may experience aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat and diarrhea.
The sooner you get help, the lower the risk of spreading the virus to your baby or other family members.
The limited studies on breastfeeding women with COVID-19 have not detected the virus in breast milk. It is not known whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via their breast milk. However, considering the benefits of breastfeeding and the insignificant role of breast milk in the transmission of other respiratory viruses, the mother can continue breastfeeding, while applying all the necessary precautions.
Currently, the biggest concern is not whether the virus can be transmitted through breast milk, but rather whether an infected mother can transmit the virus through respiratory droplets during the period of breastfeeding.
Precautions to take when breastfeeding your baby if you have Covid-19:
- Wear a mask when near your child/baby (including during feeding).
- Wash your hands before and after contact with your child/baby (including feeding).
- Clean/disinfect contaminated surfaces.
These steps are also good practice if you simply want to be extra cautions feeding your baby when you have any respiratory virus.
If a mother is too ill and weak, she should be encouraged to express milk and (let someone else) give it to her baby via a clean sterilized bottle – all while following good infection prevention methods.
Contact your pediatrician or midwife if you need more advice on feeding your baby when you have a virus.