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COVID-19 Change to Maternity services information

Feeding babies for women isolated and quarantined

If you have tested positive for coronavirus and are breastfeeding, if you have coronavirus symptoms and awaiting test results, or are in quarantine (you have had close contact with a confirmed case in the past 14 days and have to remain at home in case you may get the disease), take steps to avoid possibly spreading the virus to your baby:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching baby
  • Wear a face mask if possible, while feeding at the breast
  • Wash your hands before touching a breast pump or bottle parts and clean all parts after each use.

Guidance on breastfeeding for mothers with confirmed COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19:

Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants. Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed. A mother with confirmed COVID-19 or who is symptomatic should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant, including washing her hands before touching the infant and wearing a face mask while feeding her infant.

If expressing breast milk with a manual or electric breast pump, the mother should wash her hands before touching the pump or bottle parts and clean the pump thoroughly after each use. If mother is very unwell then assistance to pump must be provided to maintain supply and support person can feed the expressed milk to the infant.

Transmission of COVID-19 through breast milk

There is currently no evidence to suggest that COVID -19 is spread through breast milk. We are, however, still learning about COVID–19. Given that breastmilk offers immune protection from mother to infant for other respiratory viruses, the decision to breastfeed is currently supported by the World Health Organisation.

Guidance on bottle feeding for mothers or family members with confirmed COVID-19 or being tested for COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching baby
  • Read and follow the directions on the infant formula label carefully. Make sure you use a clean area to prepare the infant formula
  • Sterilise feeding bottles and wash your hands before touching bottle parts and clean all parts after each use.
  • Wear a face mask if possible, while bottle feeding.

General infant information, regardless of whether any COVID-19 precautions are being taken in your household:

  • Wash your hands before and after any interaction with your infant
  • If you need pumps and bottles/teats, clean as per recommendations after every use
  • If someone in your household is self-isolating (sick), then they should not interact with baby
  • If someone in your household is in quarantine, they should not have any contact with the infant
  • Visitors are not recommended
  • Use social media to share your baby with family and friends
  • The person self-isolating needs to keep to their own room and preferably their own bathroom
  • Common areas such as kitchens should have door handles and surfaces wiped down frequently

Last updated 08 Sep 2020