As we all navigate the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there may be uncertainty and concern on how to safely and comfortably feed your baby during this time. It’s important to remember that everybody’s situation is different and how you decide to feed your baby is up to you. But with the right information, you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you and your baby.
Breast milk can help protect your baby from many illnesses.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most babies. With your healthcare provider, you can decide if breastfeeding is the best option for you during this time. According to the CDC, based on limited studies, COVID-19 has not been found in breast milk. COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets in the air. If you cough or sneeze, these droplets can land on the nose or mouth of your baby. If you are sick or think you may be sick, you can still breastfeed. You can protect your baby from germs by wearing a mask and washing your hands before and after each feeding.
Your baby will still receive the benefits of breast milk even if they are drinking it from a bottle.
You may have challenges breastfeeding, and that’s normal. You can still provide your baby with breast milk by pumping milk and feeding your baby through a bottle. If you are sick or think you may be sick, you can still feed your baby a bottle by wearing a mask, or you can have someone who is healthy feed them. It’s important to take the necessary steps to stop the spread of germs and to properly clean your pump by wiping the pumping area, such as the dials and power switch, and cleaning all the parts that touch your breast and/or breast milk.
Formula is the best alternative to breast milk.
Breastfeeding and pumping are hard and may not be possible for all parents. Formula is the best alternative to breast milk. During this time of social distancing, it’s important that you have enough formula for at least two weeks to limit your contact with others. If possible, a relative or friend can also drop off formula to limit the time you are out of your home. If you are sick or think you may be sick, follow the necessary steps to stop the spread of germs.
No matter what you decide – you are making the right decision for you and your baby.
Feeding your baby is a difficult task! With the added uncertainty of COVID-19, deciding how to feed your baby may be overwhelming and nerve-wracking. Remember, it is safe to feed your baby if you are sick, as long as you take the necessary steps to stop the spread of germs by wearing a mask, washing your hands, and properly cleaning your pump and bottles. Whether you decide to breast feed or bottle feed, this is your decision to make and it will be the right decision for you and your family.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions.