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

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD

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

Coronavirus has not been found in breast milk. But if you have COVID-19, you could spread the virus to your infant through tiny droplets that spread when you talk, cough, or sneeze.

Talk to your doctor to help decide whether you should continue to breastfeed. Your breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby and can protect against many illnesses. While you are sick, you 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 cloth face covering (or face mask, if you have one) 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).

If you have a fever, cough, or trouble breathing, call your health care provider. Other coronavirus symptoms may include:

  • a sore throat
  • chills
  • repeated shaking with chills
  • muscle pain
  • headache
  • a loss of taste or smell

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 CDC and WHO websites for up-to-date, reliable information about coronavirus.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: May 2020