The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have issued wide ranging advice relating to COVID-19 / Coronavirus and breastfeeding and pregnancy. They make the following recommendations:
"At the moment there is no evidence that the virus can be carried in breastmilk, so it’s felt that the well-recognised benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any potential risks of transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk.
"The main risk of breastfeeding is close contact between you and your baby, as you may share infective airborne droplets, leading to infection of the baby after birth.
"A discussion about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding should take place between you, your family and your maternity team.
"If you choose to breastfeed your baby, the following precautions are recommended:
- Wash your hands before touching your baby, breast pump or bottles
- Try and avoid coughing or sneezing on your baby while feeding at the breast
- Consider wearing a face mask while breastfeeding, if available
- Follow recommendations for pump cleaning after each use
"If you choose to feed your baby with formula or expressed milk, it is recommended that you follow strict adherence to sterilisation guidelines. If you are expressing breast milk in hospital, a dedicated breast pump should be used."
This guidance may change as knowledge evolves, so please refer to the RCOG or RCPCH website for up to date advice.
Please also refer to responsive feeding guidelines from Unicef Baby Friendly initiative for more advice - please click here