The Coronavirus And Breastfeeding: is it safe?

The Coronavirus And Breastfeeding: is it safe?

The Coronavirus And Breastfeeding: is it safe?

What is the coronavirus?

The coronavirus is a virus that comes in different forms. The virus that is currently spreading causes flu-like illness. This is called COVID-19.

The symptoms are very similar to those of a 'normal' flu . Often the disease is mild, this means that you do not get very sick. But it can make some people very sick. That is why it is good to prevent contamination as much as possible.

The disease is spread by small droplets from the throat that end up in the air with coughing and sneezing. You can also infect each other through close contact, such as hugging and kissing.

The coronavirus and breastfeeding

It seems that you cannot pass the coronavirus to your baby through breast milk . In the various studies that were done, no virus particles were found in breast milk.

The number of corona patients in these studies was small. More research is needed to say with certainty that you cannot transmit the virus through breast milk.

Breast milk offers many benefits , including for your baby's immune system. When you are sick, you make antibodies against the pathogen. These remain in your blood, even if you are better.

You pass on the antibodies and other antibodies to your baby through your milk. This way you help protect your baby against various infectious diseases.

In this way it probably works with the corona virus as well. Once you are infected, your body fights the virus. This causes your body to make specific antibodies against the virus.

These also end up with your child through breastfeeding .

Infected with coronavirus and breastfeeding

Because the risk of breastfeeding is small, you do not have to stop breastfeeding if you are infected with corona.

The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the small chance of your baby becoming infected. Your baby can also use the antibodies you make against corona to protect itself against the virus.

However, it is important to adhere to extra hygiene measures. This way you prevent your baby from becoming infected through the intimate contact between you during feeding.

Hygiene measures for coronavirus infection

While breastfeeding, keep your baby close to you. It can then easily become infected. Not through the milk, but because you carry the virus in your airways.

Are you (possibly) infected with the coronavirus and are you breastfeeding? Or do you have complaints that can fit in with it, such as coughing, fever and breathing problems? Then contact your doctor and follow the instructions you receive. A lactation consultant can also give you advice on how to breastfeed safely.

You can use the following hygiene measures while breastfeeding:
  • Wash your hands before and after you touch your baby, the breast pump or the bottles.
  • Do not kiss your baby, no matter how difficult that may be.
  • Try to avoid coughing and sneezing when you feed. Turn your face away when it is unavoidable to cough or sneeze.
  • When available, wear a mouth mask when feeding, changing and holding your baby.
  • Disinfect and clean surfaces and objects that you have touched.
  • After use, clean the breast pump flask according to the instructions. Do this after every use.
  • See if a healthy person (for example, your partner) can give expressed milk. This is also a good option if you feel too sick to feed yourself, but pumping is successful.
If you have no complaints, you can follow the general hygiene advice that applies now. Are you not breastfeeding, but bottle feeding ? Then the same hygiene measures apply.

Sterilize the teat and bottle well after each use.

Donate breast milk

Donating breast milk can continue. The milk is pasteurized upon receipt. This destroys pathogens, such as the coronavirus.

However, as a precaution, you should not donate milk if you may be infected. In the past 14 days, have you had contact with someone who has a proven COVID-19 infection? Or do you have complaints and have you been in a risk area? Then you may only donate milk again after you have been tested and it turns out that you do not carry the virus with you.

If you have complaints but have not been in a risk area, please consult the breast milk bank by telephone

Stress of the coronavirus and breastfeeding

These are exciting times that can bring many concerns. If you are very tense, the stress can unfortunately cause your milk production to decrease.

It is therefore important to limit the stress as much as possible. That is easier said than done. The following tips can help you with this.
  • Breathing exercises. Do you remember the breathing exercises during your delivery? Inhale deeply through the nose and slowly exhale through the mouth. These exercises can calm you down. For example, do them with your baby on your chest before you start feeding. This both calms you down.
  • Limit the news flow and social media. Build in moments of media rest. Put your phone away, turn off the TV, and don't listen to the radio or a podcast about the corona virus. Not being confronted with it can lower your stress level.
  • Find distractions. Take the time to do something for yourself that will relax you and keep you from thinking about the corona virus. This way your stress level can drop for a while.
  • Yoga of mindfulness. Do you like to practice yoga? Find quiet yoga exercises on the Internet. These can help you relieve your stress. If you are less mobile, his mindfulness exercises are also hake suitable to bring peace to your body.

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