UNICEF has just this week released a lengthy informational statement on the COVID-19, formerly the CoronaVirus 2019. This is a serious illness and one that continues to cause healthcare providers as well as the general public to question the safety of breastfeeding during outbreaks. Here is the direct quote from UNICEF on breastfeeding, as well as a link to the site for the full statement.
"Is it safe for a mother to breastfeed if she is infected with coronavirus?"
All mothers in affected and at-risk areas who have symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty breathing, should seek medical care early, and follow instructions from a health care provider.
Considering the benefits of breastfeeding and the insignificant role of breastmilk in the transmission of other respiratory viruses, the mother can continue breastfeeding, while applying all the necessary precautions.
For symptomatic mothers well enough to breastfeed, this includes wearing a mask when near a child (including during feeding), washing hands before and after contact with the child (including feeding), and cleaning/disinfecting contaminated surfaces - as should be done in all cases where anyone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 interacts with others, including children.
If a mother is too ill, she should be encouraged to express milk and give it to the child via a clean cup and/or spoon - all while following the same infection prevention methods," https://www.unicef.org/stories/novel-coronavirus-outbreak-what-parents-should-know
This is very important information to share with anyone having questions about COVID-19.
Kathy Parkes, MSN-Ed, RN, IBCLC, FILCA CHC
Professional Development Educator
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Last Updated: September 2018