With COVID-19 (known as coronavirus) officially infiltrating every headline, article and news source, it’s important to us to bring you reliable information about how Coronavirus impacts breastfeeding, if at all?
I am sure everyone at this point is aware of what Coronavirus is, but whats important to note is that it spreads via respiratory droplets so sneezing, coughing etc. and it can last on certain objects for many hours which means you can spread it and pick it up if you don't wash your hands regularly but touch your face often (the majority of us fall into this category).
Should I continue to breastfeed my child?
The answer has been a resounding yes. Breastmilk contains useful nutrients and antibodies that not only help babies fight infection and dehydration but are beneficial amidst short term and long term disease development.
The benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the potential unknown risks at this point and given the importance of breastfeeding to nurture, comfort and support your child's development - it remains important to not make any hasty changes to baby's routine.
Is there any evidence we can draw on?
Two interesting piece of evidence we have are:
- COVID-19 is similar to SARS and SARS was not found in any breastmilk when it was tested
- Of the 6 patients with COVID-19 in China, none was found in their breastmilk (please note small sample size reduces reliability of data)
NB- we still dont know if it can be transmitted via breastfeeding.
What do I do if I have Coronavirus and am breastfeeding?
Wear a mask when breastfeeding to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets.
Wash your hands for 20seconds with soap every time you change baby's nappy or touch feeding instruments. Wash feeding instruments after every use thoroughly and according to manufacturer's guidance.
If you have the option, whilst you are unwell - express into a bottle and have someone who is well give the baby the bottle.
Self isolate whilst you are unwell and then practice social distancing from others especially those who are vulnerable or who may be in contact with vulnerable people.
One thing that has been comforting is knowing that children seem to be hit by the virus a lot less than adults (although they spread it a lot faster) but all the necessary precautions remain just as important!
We covered this topic on our IGTV, so make sure you catch up with the video as it has more details on this subject.
Comment below if you have any thoughts or questions!