This is tip 12 in a series from pediatrician Dr. Ray Fabius for families on maintaining health and wellness at home or on the front lines. Find more tips and actionable advice on our Dr. Ray resource page.
How to safely breastfeed during a pandemic
As a new parent, you’re likely already in the habit of washing your hands before picking up your baby. This is particularly important during this COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, precautions should be taken a step further: While holding your baby, refrain from touching your nose, eyes, or mouth. Wash your hands if you do. Be extra careful to cover every cough or sneeze—preferably with a disposable tissue and especially not with your hands.
Breastfeeding is beneficial for your baby during a pandemic. It’s a great protection for them because they receive antibodies from you. Thus far, there is no evidence of transmission of the virus through breast milk. If you were to contract the COVID-19 illness while nursing, it would be best to discuss the situation with your pediatrician or family doctor. They may recommend that you use great handwashing techniques and pump your breast milk so that someone who is well can feed your baby.
Other considerations for breastfeeding
- If you are well and breastfeeding, it might be a good idea to stockpile breast milk in the freezer just in case you become ill during this health emergency.
- If you are breastfeeding and begin to have symptoms like fever and cough, call your doctor immediately to determine next steps.
- Practice good handwashing before and after caring for or holding your baby.
Resources to learn more about this topic