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Is it Safe to Breastfeed if I Have Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

I have coronavirus (COVID-19). Is it safe to keep breastfeeding my baby?
–Natasha

Coronavirus has not been found in breast milk. It’s safe to breastfeed if you have COVID-19. But new moms with COVID-19 could spread the virus to their infant through tiny droplets that spread when they talk, cough, or sneeze.

Talk to your doctor to help decide whether you should continue to breastfeed and how to do it safely. Your breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby and can protect against many illnesses. While you are sick, you (or someone else) can give your baby expressed breast milk.

If you choose to breastfeed or give expressed milk in a bottle, to help prevent spreading the virus to your baby:

  • Wash your hands before and after touching your baby.
  • Wear a mask while nursing.
  • Wash your hands before touching your breast pump or bottle parts. Clean all parts after each use.
  • Let someone else in your household who is not sick give your baby your expressed breast milk.

Try to limit close face-to-face contact with your baby, and cough or sneeze into a tissue (and then throw it away). When you aren't feeding your baby, you should try to stay at least 6 feet away from your baby as much as possible.

Call your health care provider if you feel unwell with COVID-19 symptoms such as:

  • a fever
  • coughing
  • trouble breathing
  • cold symptoms such as a sore throat, congestion, or runny nose
  • chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • a loss of taste or smell
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • tiredness

Also call right away if your baby has a fever or trouble breathing, or seems sick.

Where Can I Get Updated Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) websites for up-to-date information.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2021