MENU

News & Updates

Ask a Childbirth Educator (Aug 2022)

‘Is it safe to continue breastfeeding during the COVID-19 pandemic?’

During pregnancy, the mother passes antibodies to her baby through the placenta and for extra protection, that baby gains further antibodies, other proteins, and immune cells via breastmilk.  Once ingested, these molecules and cells help to prevent microorganisms from penetrating the body’s tissues.  Antibodies are special proteins that the immune system produces to help protect the body against bacteria and viruses

There is no evidence that COVID-19 is passed to the baby via the mother.  It is also recommended to continue to breastfeed your baby if throughout this pandemic to build up your baby’s immunity and provide additional protection.  This will give your baby a great boost and start to life.

It’s good to get in the habit to:

  • wash your hands before and after contact with your baby (including feeding, nappy change, holding)
  • clean/disinfect any surfaces you touch
  • ensure you cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue which you discard immediately, then clean your hands again.

If you are being tested for the virus, or confirmed to have contracted it, the recommendations are that you wear a mask to avoid directly breathing onto your baby. As hard as it will be, avoid kissing or touching your baby’s face.  The usual hygiene rules are imperative here too; wash hands before picking up your baby, don’t sneeze or cough in your baby’s direction/space and isolate from others outside your bubble.

There is no evidence of transmission of the virus through your breastmilk, and your baby will benefit from continued breastfeeding. Because your baby will have been exposed to COVID-19, they will be considered a close contact of a confirmed case and you will be provided advice from your public health unit.

Reference

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-information-specific-audiences/covid-19-breastfeeding-advice-pregnant-women-or-those-who-have-recently-given-birth

FIND A PARENTS CENTRE NEAR YOU

Select Location (by DHB)
 
52Locations across Aotearoa, & online