Yes. “The AAP strongly supports breastfeeding as the best choice for infant feeding.”v Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses and is the best source of nutrition for most infants. Breastfed infants are generally less likely to have severe respiratory symptoms if they get sick. Breastfeeding is good for moms, releasing hormones during breastfeeding that promote wellness and can relieve stress and anxiety. Breast milk is readily available, and especially important during emergencies.
“Several published studies have detected SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid in breast milk. It is not yet known whether viable, infectious virus is secreted in breast milk, nor is it yet established whether protective antibody is found in breast milk. Given these uncertainties, breastfeeding is not contraindicated at this time.”v For moms who are infected with COVID-19, breastfeeding directly and pumping breast milk to be fed via bottle by an uninfected caregiver are both options for providing the best nutrition (breast milk) to babies. COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact, mainly through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Therefore, if the person feeding the baby by breast or bottle is COVID+ or has been potentially exposed, he/she should wear a face mask or mouth/nose covering and wash their hands before each feeding, as well as during breast milk pumping and/or any bottle preparation, to reduce the risk of transmission. One should always wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before breastfeeding or expressing breast milk, even if not COVID+. All bottle, breast pump parts and supplies should be cleaned thoroughly following CDC guidelines.
For more information please review resources about COVID-19 and breastfeeding provided by the Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition. As always, it is important to talk with your doctor and a breastfeeding support professional to weigh the risks and benefits and help determine what is best in an individual situation.
Updated: March 10, 2021