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Is it okay to breastfeed during the coronavirus pandemic?

Parents holding baby feet
Posted at 12:39 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-08 12:46:52-04

NORFOLK – A big question new and expectant are asking during this pandemic – is it safe to breastfeed, especially if you’re diagnosed with the coronavirus or displaying symptoms?

“All of the research has demonstrated thus far that the virus is likely not passed through breast milk,” explained CHKD pediatrician and breastfeeding specialist Dr. Michelle Brenner. “We want moms to breastfeed directly to provide their own milk if they’re well enough. And as long as she is doing all of the important precautions – hand washing, wearing a mask, all of those things, particularly if she’s ill – she can continue to breastfeed her child.”

Dr. Brenner said the World Health Organization is encouraging mothers to breastfeed during this pandemic. She also said now is a good time to breastfeed, especially since baby formula is becoming harder to find at area grocery stores.

“Certainly if supply chains remain at risk, potentially acquiring formula may be difficult down the road,” said Dr. Brenner. “Having an adequate, abundant breast milk supply would be an excellent opportunity to provide that reassurance that you could feed your baby in this time of emergency.”

Dr. Brenner is also appealing to mothers' to donate their breast milk to ensure the King’s Daughters Milk Bank remains fully stocked to help premature babies.

“We supply 30 other hospitals, but knowing that the peak of this infection may not be for another four to six weeks, we need to collect as much milk as we can and process it so we have it for the long run,” she said.