Breastfeeding during a Pandemic
Many new moms are concerned, understandably, about COVID-19.
Here are some quick facts about breastfeeding and this virus:
- Moms who choose to breastfeed are encouraged to continue to do so. There are many benefits to breastfeeding, even more so during a state of emergency. Availability, access, contamination, etc of formula for your infant can be a concern during a crisis – but not for babies being breastfed. Your milk is safe, sterile, reliable, and the perfect (and only) food your infant needs until they are approximately 6 months old. There are antibodies in the milk that protect the baby. The only supplement needed would be Vitamin D drops.
- Sources such as World Health Organization (WHO), International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), Centres for Disease Control (CDC) and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine state that the COVID-19 virus does not pass through a mother’s milk.
- If the you are breastfeeding and have symptoms of or confirmed COVID-19, evidence suggests baby cannot get it from mom’s milk. However, the droplet theory of passing from mom/caregiver to baby still exists and steps must be taken to avoid spreading the virus to the baby:
- Wash your hands before touching your baby
- Wear a face mask, if possible, while feeding at the breast
- Wash your hands before touching pump or bottle parts and clean all parts after each use
- If the you are sick and choose to express breast milk:
- Express breast milk to establish and maintain milk supply.
- A dedicated breast pump should be provided.
- Wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk.
- Guidelines for pumping and storing milk still apply. (Freshly expressed milk lasts 4-6 hours at room temperature, up-to 4 days in the refrigerator, and up-to six months in the freezer.)
- Follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use, cleaning all parts that come into contact with breast milk.
- If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to the infant.
Breastfeeding support is still available through our office via phone call or OTN (or in person can be arranged if needed) by calling Meryl at 613-332-1565 extension 232.