COVID-19 and Breastfeeding

COVID-19 and Breastfeeding

By Leana Thompson

Pregnancy during the COVID-19 crisis is definitely one for the books. As a first time mom (currently 32 weeks pregnant as I write this) – I was looking forward to all our birthing classes, baby moon, and baby shower. Now, birthing plans are rapidly changing. All these changes can be extra stressful during an already stressful time. As a Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), I have been receiving a ton of questions about pregnancy + COVID-19. I have gathered COVID-19 data to help my patients and expecting parents feel more educated and prepared.My goal is to share tips on how to stay healthy and keep a positive mindset before and after your pregnancy. 

  • COVID-19 affects people differently, and symptoms may range from no symptoms to feeling very ill.
  • During your pregnancy, try to social distance yourself as much as possible.  Hand washing is also key to not transmitting the virus. Stress has been linked to possible preterm labor. Try to relax and take care of you and baby first. Selfcare is the best care at this time.
  • If you are recovering from COVID-19 at home with your family, you may be asked to self-isolate. This means staying apart from the people you live with, including other children, as much as possible.
  • According to the World Health Organization, “Close contact and early, exclusive breastfeeding helps a baby to thrive. A woman with COVID-19 should be supported to breastfeed safely, hold her newborn skin-to-skin, and share a room with her baby.”  This is not the time to deprive babies of all the benefits of skin-to-skin and being in their natural habitat. 
  • There is no evidence that breast milk contains COVID-19. If you think you may have COVID-19 discuss this with your healthcare provider as soon as you can. Hand-washing and use of masks are recommended.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states – If you are breastfeeding directly, you should take precautions to protect your little one. It’s recommended that you thoroughly wash your hands AND your breasts before touching and feeding your child.  You should also be sure to wear a mask when feeling sick to protect your child from respiratory droplets that carry viruses, like COVID-19.
  • Cases of COVID-19 affecting babies and children seem to be mild and rare. We also know that preventing yourself and your family from contracting the virus IS possible through the consistent and mindful preventive steps recommended by the CDC.

Bottom line: There are still a lot of unknowns around COVID-19. The positive news is the majority of people infected with the COVID-19 virus, pregnant or otherwise, go on to fully recover with minimal to no symptoms and without the need for specialized medical care.

Leana Thompson

ABOUT LEANA

Leana Thompson (RN, BSN, IBCLC) dreamed of becoming a nurse ever since she was a young girl. She has worked in several different areas of the hospital before landing on the antepartum/postpartum unit (commonly known as Mother-Baby Unit). She worked as a Mother-Baby RN for 8 years in hospitals all across the country. As her passions evolved, she decided to solely focus on breastfeeding. Since every mother and baby has a different breastfeeding and pumping journey, it has been Leana’s mission to support each mom and her unique goals and visions for herself, her baby, and her family. She has been working as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at a local hospital in Gilbert, AZ. Many of her patients would ask her, “Can I bring you home with me?” which inspired Leana to figure out a way that they can! Leana founded The Milk Makers. The Milk Makers goal is to provide services that give you + your partner the ultimate mother-baby experience before and after you leave the hospital. To learn more about Leana’s services, virtual consultations, and feeding tips, you can check out her Instagram – @TheMilkMakers.