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

Can I Breastfeed My Baby if I Have COVID-19?

The virus that causes COVID-19 does not seem to spread to babies through breast milk. It’s safe to breastfeed if you have COVID-19. Your breast milk is the best nutrition for your baby and can protect against many illnesses. But you could spread the virus to your baby through tiny droplets that spread when you talk, cough, or sneeze.

Talk to your doctor for tips on how to safely breastfeed while you're sick. You (or someone else) also can give your baby expressed breast milk.

How Can I Protect My Baby?

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 touching your baby.
  • Wear a mask while nursing.
  • Wash your hands and put on a mask 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.

If your baby has also tested positive for COVID-19, you don't need to take special precautions (like wearing a mask). But washing your hands before touching your baby is always a good idea.

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Call your doctor 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
  • extreme tiredness

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

Where Can I Get Updated Information on COVID-19?

Check the CDC's website for more information.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: May 1, 2024

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