The Coronavirus outbreak has really brought a tough time for everyone. Breastfeeding mothers are highly worried about their baby’s health and wondering whether it is safe to do it in this pandemic. Could the virus be transmitted through breast milk? New moms can keep up with their breastfeeding successfully but there are some precautions to follow.
But first of all, why shouldn’t you stop breastfeeding your babies?
- Healthy for your child – It protects her against a lot of illnesses. Some reports claim that breastfed babies are much likely to be safe against severe respiratory problems in case they get sick.
- Healthy for moms – During breastfeeding, certain hormones are released in your body to help relieve anxiety and stress and promote wellness.
Is expressed breast milk and breastfeeding safe during this pandemic?
Actually, Coronavirus spreads through droplets when you are in close contact with an infected person and he or she talks, sneezes and coughs. It is still not proved that Coronavirus passes through breast milk from mom to baby. If you don’t have this disease, breastfeeding is considered safe.
If I am being tested or I found Coronavirus positive, can I still breastfeed my baby or feed her expressed breast milk?
Yes, even if you are tested positive with Coronavirus, you can still breastfeed your baby. But you need to clean up your hands and breasts properly to pump or express your breast milk. To feed the expressed breast milk, you must have a caregiver who is safe.
After every use, be sure to disinfect your breast pump. There are guidelines issued by CDC for proper disinfecting and cleaning. Ask your caregiver to wash hands properly before feeding, touching bottles or caring for your child. Take all precautionary measures if you have to breastfeed directly to avoid potential risk. Follow proper hand and breast hygiene and wear a mask.
Can my baby stay in my room if I am tested positive?
If you are suspected to have Coronavirus or you have this disease, it is recommended to stay in a separate room and keep your baby in another room for her safety. Have a healthy caregiver who can take care of your baby and feed your expressed milk.
If you have just one room, maintain a safe distance of 6 feet at least. Wear a mask and keep your hands clean when you have to get closer to her.
You can stop self-isolating yourself in case of COVID-19 when –
- You have been recovered from fever without taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen for minimum 72 hours,
- When you have been isolated for 7 days since the first day of symptoms
- When other COVID-19 symptoms are showing improvement
Can I keep up with my milk supply if I am too sick to breastfeed?
In the first few days of childbirth, you can keep the supply of your breast milk going by hand expressing and pumping it. If you prefer to breastfeed your baby directly, you must follow the strict guidelines. Line up pumping your breast milk at least 8 to 10 times in 24 hours to meet the feeding demands of your baby. A lot of medications are considered safe but you should ask your doctor. If you have pain in nipples, problems in feeding, low milk supply or other problems, be sure to ask for medical help.
Try and practice healthy habits, stay positive, and control stress as much as you can. Eat healthy foods, get proper exercise, and sleep enough.
How to protect a newborn from Coronavirus infection?
Follow all the precautions and hygiene. Wash your hands for minimum 20 seconds with soap and water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Don’t touch your eyes, mouth, face or nose with your hands again and again. Clean the surfaces which are dirty or may be contaminated that your baby may touch. Be very careful to sneeze or cough into a tissue or elbow if you feel sick. Dump used tissue on a dustbin and wash hands.
Avoid public places and maintain social distancing by staying at least 6 ft. away from other people. Also avoid close contact with others in your home, especially if one has respiratory problems like coughing.
Ask Your Gynecologist
Your baby is weighed and measured properly once you leave the hospital as the first follow-up visit. A lot of doctors have specific times to schedule the visits of your newborn to avoid risk of being in contact with infected patients. You can also get in touch with your gynecologist in Bangalore over video chat or phone. If necessary, you may visit them in person.