What to do if you’re breastfeeding during Covid-19 aka the Coronavirus, is a question that’s been weighing heavily on my mind and other nursing and pumping moms.
My youngest daughter had her 9 month checkup amidst all of this chaos, but it gave me an opportunity to have a one-on-one with her pediatrician and discuss necessary precautions, help me understand my options, and how to keep my sanity during this trying time.
I have been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter nine months and counting! Which means in no way do I want to stop now, in fact, I would prefer if she chose when to wean. Regardless of it all, I have to take precautionary steps to insure her safety and mine as this pandemic sweeps the nation and keeps us all quarantined in our homes.
If You Are Breastfeeding:
- Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds before and after making contact with your breast and baby.
- Practice proper hygiene etiquette (taking a shower everyday, washing after using the bathroom, etc..)
- Avoid close contact with other people as much as you can.
- Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or tissue and washing your hands after.
- Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth to the best of your abilities.
- Because babies explore the world with their hands and mouths, make sure to disinfect all of their toys and keep their hands and face clean.
- Disinfect all areas of your home, especially the areas you rest to nurse your baby.
- Wear a protective mask while feeding if you are ill, we now know that coronavirus passes through respiratory droplets such as coughing or sneezing.
- If you pump, disinfect and sanitize all bottles and pump parts.
Your breastmilk is amazing mama! It’s been shown to strengthen your little ones immune system while adapting quickly to suit their needs, especially if they are sick, have the flu, or are fighting an illness. Breastmilk provides essential nutrients and fluids that will keep your little one hydrated. Furthermore, if you are sick, your breastmilk will create antibodies to help reduce the risk of your child contracting the same virus.
A mother’s milk contains many components that help fight and prevent infections and illnesses. If your baby is under six months of age do not give them solids, because they need nothing more than your breastmilk. However, if your baby is older than six months, continue to breastfeed them while offering fruits and veggies to help boost their immune systems.
If you are breastfeeding your toddler or an older child, now is not the time to stop. Breastmilk is the best form of nutrition for your children because as they grow and their bodies change, your breastmilk adapts to better suit their nutritional and developmental needs. Also, it is one of the best ways to help boost their immune systems and prevent and fight against viruses.
If you stopped breastfeeding and you would like to start again, it is possible. Call your local Breastfeeding Hotline for more support and information.
Pregnant women and mothers are more at risk for contracting the virus, so always take necessary precautions when it comes to your health and well-being.
If you are infected it is recommended that you continue to breastfeed your child and offer breastmilk, because the virus has not been found in breastmilk.
All in all, don’t stop mama. Breastfed babies tend to have fewer and less serious respiratory infections, less vomiting and less diarrhea. Breastmilk been found to help prevent and treat illnesses, it contains germ-fighting ingredients, and will prevent your baby from becoming dehydrated, which is crucial at this point in time. It’s important to continue pumping and nursing until this virus and pandemic passes.
You got this! Drink plenty of fluids, maintain a healthy diet, and feed your babies.
A breastfeeding mama