Despite the WHO announcing COVID-19 a pandemic, the world is living in a confusing time currently. With each passing day, more and more people in the U.S have been contracting the deadly virus. Needless to say, pregnant women and nursing mothers might be having a really tough time. It is completely natural for them to have questions about what the disease outbreak means to them.

Since COVID-19 is a newly encountered disease, the guidance from experts can continue to evolve. But, as of now, here’s everything about COVID-19 for breastfeeding mothers: the novel coronavirus spreads from an individual to another mainly via respiratory droplets that are secreted when infected individual sneezes or coughs.

The studies conducted, by far, on women with the disease haven’t detected the deadly virus in breast milk yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), per What to Expect.

In a small study conducted on 9 pregnant women in Wuhan, China, the researchers did not find any evidence of the virus on their breast milk, cord blood or their amniotic fluid.

The CDC highlighted that health experts haven’t concluded if a COVID-19 infected mother can breastfeed her child since they have no information whether the virus can be transferred to the baby via breast milk.

“Breast milk provides protection against many illnesses. There are rare exceptions when breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk is not recommended. CDC has no specific guidance for breastfeeding during infection with similar viruses like SARS-CoV or Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV.  Outside of the immediate postpartum setting, CDC recommends that a mother with flu continue breastfeeding or feeding expressed breast milk to her infant while taking precautions to avoid spreading the virus to her infant,” the CDC mentioned.

Since breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants, the CDC recommended that breastfeeding mothers should make informed decisions about breastfeeding her child after discussing it with her family and healthcare providers.

If you are a mother who tested COVID-19 positive wants to breastfeed her child, the CDC suggested that you take the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands before touching the infant.
  • Wear a face mask if possible, while breastfeeding.
  • If expressing breast milk with an electric or manual pump, wash your hands before touching any pump or bottle parts.
  • Consider having someone else who is well to feed the expressed milk to your child.

Breastfeeding World Breastfeeding Week starts from Aug. 1. In this photo, Kiki Valentine breastfeeds her 9-week-old son, Hart Valentine, on the steps of City Hall during a rally to support breastfeeding in public in New York City, Aug. 8, 2014. Photo: Getty Images/ Andrew Burton