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Breastfeeding with COVID

Can I breastfeed if I have COVID?

The American Academy of Pediatrics says you can! Although the data is limited, it shows that the benefits of breastfeeding your baby if you have COVID are greater than the risks. You have to wash your hands with soap for at least 22 seconds, wear a mask when within two meters of your baby and wash your breast pump if you are pumping.

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Can I give my baby COVID if I have COVID and breastfeed?

Again, the data is limited but so far, a study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in collaboration with other universities show that women with COVID who breastfed their babies did not pass the virus through the milk.

Furthermore, women with COVID who breastfed their babies were transmitting them precious antibodies through their breast milk.

Breastfeeding with COVID

Do I have to throw away the breastmilk I pump if I have COVID?

Although the studies are few in this area, the medical community believes that pumped breastmilk is safe to give to your baby if you have COVID. Your breast milk if you have COVID would provide good antibodies to your baby and have a very low possibility to give COVID to you baby.

You need to take precautions while pumping your milk and around your baby if you have COVID such a

• Use your own breast pump and do not share it with anyone else which is actually a valid recommendation even if you do not have COVID!
• Wear a mask as you express breast milk and whenever you are within 2 meters of your baby which included doing skin to skin. This would mean that you would either need to wear a mask if you are sleeping near your baby or make sure your baby sleeps at least 6 feet away from you.
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 22 seconds before touching any pump or bottle parts, before expressing breast milk, and before touching your baby.

The same precautions of washing their hands and wearing a mask goes for all the other members of the family even if they do not have active COVID if there is one member of the family who has COVID as they could be in incubation.

Can I kiss my baby on the mouth if I have COVID and breastfeed?

NO! Kissing a baby on the mouth is never a good idea as you are directly exposing your baby to many kinds of virus and bacterias

There are many ways to express your love to your baby, kissing on the mouth is not one of them as it puts your baby in danger of catching serious diseases.

The same recommendation goes for everyone in contact with your baby. They should all avoid giving your baby a kiss on the mouth. COVID has reminded us that baby should not be kissed on the mouth and this should continue even after the COVID pandemic is over.

Is it dangerous if I give my baby COVID while breastfeeding?

If you follow all the guidelines above like washing your hands, wearing a mask, cleaning your pump and bottles, not sleeping too close to your baby, etc you lower your risk of giving your baby COVID even if you breastfeed.

The good news is that even if your baby catches COVID, the odds are high that he will either be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. DO consult your doctor if you think your baby has COVID.

Can I breastfeed if I receive the COVID vaccine?

YES! The World Health Organization says it is safe to breastfeed after receiving the COVID vaccine. Ask your doctor before getting the COVID vaccine. The WHO also states that the efficacy of the COVID vaccine in pregnant women and breastfeeding women would be the same as for any other member of the population.

Of course the COVID vaccines lack long-term studies and went through an accelerated acceptance process so ling term effects are not fully known in breastfed babies and their mothers.

According to the FDA: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should discuss potential benefits and risks of vaccination with their healthcare provider.

COVID antibodies have been found in umbilical cords of babies born from women infected with COVID which shows the power of nature!

Even when breastfeeding with COVID, a mother’s attachment to her baby is crucial and should not be sacrificed.

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