Is it safe to breastfeed my baby?

Yes. “The AAP strongly supports breastfeeding as the best choice for infant feeding.”v Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants. Breastfed infants are generally less likely to have severe respiratory symptoms if they get sick. Breastfeeding is good for moms, releasing hormones during breastfeeding that promote wellness and can relieve stress and anxiety. Breast milk is readily available, and especially important during emergencies. 

“Several published studies have detected SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid in breast milk. It is not yet known whether viable, infectious virus is secreted in breast milk, nor is it yet established whether protective antibody is found in breast milk. Given these uncertainties, breastfeeding is not contraindicated at this time.”v For moms who are infected with COVID-19, breastfeeding directly and pumping breast milk to be fed via bottle by an uninfected caregiver are both options for providing the best nutrition (breast milk) to babies. COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact, mainly through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Therefore, if the person feeding the baby by breast or bottle is COVID+ or has been potentially exposed, he/she should wear a face mask or mouth/nose covering and wash their hands before each feeding, as well as during breast milk pumping and/or any bottle preparation, to reduce the risk of transmission. One should always wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before breastfeeding or expressing breast milk, even if not COVID+. All bottle, breast pump parts and supplies should be cleaned thoroughly following CDC guidelines.

For more information please review resources about COVID-19 and breastfeeding provided by the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition. As always, it is important to talk with your doctor and a breastfeeding support professional to weigh the risks and benefits and help determine what is best in an individual situation.

Updated: March 10, 2021

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1. Are pregnant women at greater risk of contracting COVID-19?
2. Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy or be passed on to the unborn baby?
3. Is it safe to breastfeed my baby?
4. How can I protect myself and my family from contracting COVID-19?
5. When should I contact my medical provider?
6. Should I still go to my prenatal and postpartum appointments?
7. How will this outbreak affect my delivery experience?
8. If I have Medicaid or KanCare coverage for my pregnancy, how will it be affected by this pandemic?
9. How can I keep my newborn safe?
10. Should I take my baby/child to his/her regularly scheduled well-child appointments?
11. What extra precautions can I take to protect my baby if I have, or am suspected of having, COVID-19?
12. What symptoms should I be watching for in my baby?
13. Should I continue to receive other health and support services?
14. How else can I help keep my baby safe?
15. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe and recommended for pregnant and lactating women?