Breastfeeding During the Current Health Crisis
MN WIC Program
Women should discuss recommendations with their health care providers. You can share some of the information below with your health care provider and discuss your unique situation.
For Healthy Women:
- Breastfeeding remains recommended.
- Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses.
- If you are currently breastfeeding and would like to increase your milk supply, contact your local WIC agency for more information.
- If you were planning to wean your baby, consider waiting until the health crisis has resolved.
Breastfeeding if you have COVID-19 or Symptoms of COVID-19: CDC Guidance (April 3, 2020)
- Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants.
- You, along with your family and health care providers, should decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding.
- In limited studies, COVID-19 has not been detected in breast milk; however, we do not know for certain whether mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus via breast milk.
- If you are sick and choose to directly breastfeed:
- Wear a facemask and wash your hands before each feeding.
- If you are sick and choose to express breast milk:
- Express breast milk to establish and maintain your milk supply.
- Use a dedicated breast pump (a breast pump that no one but you uses).
- Wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts and before expressing breast milk.
- Follow recommendations for proper pump cleaning after each use, cleaning all parts that come into contact with breast milk.
- If possible, consider having someone who is well feed the expressed breast milk to your baby, following appropriate guidelines for hygiene, including handwashing before and after feeding the baby.
Other COVID-19 and breastfeeding information:
- World Health Organization, Home care for patients with suspected novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection presenting with mild symptoms, and management of their contacts. Interim guidance. March 17, 2020:
"… Considering the benefits of breastfeeding and the insignificant role of breast milk in the transmission of other respiratory viruses, a mother could/can continue breastfeeding. The mother should wear a medical mask when she is near her baby and perform hand hygiene before and after having close contact with the baby. She will also need to follow the other hygiene measures described in this document.""
Additional information about COVID-19 is found on the MDH website.