Care of women during breastfeeding against covid-19

(CNN Español) – Dr. Elmer Huerta describes the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for women who are breastfeeding and suspect they may have the new coronavirus. According to the guidelines, breast milk is not a source of COVID-19 contagion.

You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast platform, or read the transcript below.


Hello, I am Dr. Elmer Huerta and this is your daily dose of information on the new coronavirus.

Information that we hope will be useful to take care of your health and that of your family.

One of the most frequent questions that families ask themselves is what they should do if the woman who is going to give birth, for example, or who already has her baby and is breastfeeding, catches Covid-19. Or you come into contact with a person who has covid-19 and therefore suspect that they may have been infected.

Should you stop breastfeeding? Should you be separated from your baby? Should it be isolated?

Today we will see what the latest recommendations what the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does for women who are breastfeeding.

The mother is suspected of having covid-19

First of all, and this point is very clear in the guidelines, it establishes that breast milk is not a source of contagion of covid-19.

Second, the recommendations describe some scenarios, which – for didactic purposes – we will follow in this episode.

First stage: the mother has covid-19 or is suspected of having been infected, but the baby does not.

In this case, the mother must be isolated for 14 days in her room and the baby must be considered a suspicious contact, and must also remain in quarantine for the same time as the mother.

Regarding precautions about breastfeeding, expressing breast milk, or feeding babies from bottles, mothers should do the following:

Wash your hands with soap and water before touching your child or expressing breast milk. If soap and water are not available, they can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Use a mask when breastfeeding or giving the baby a bottle or when you are less than two meters away from him.

If the mother does not feel well or does not feel able to breastfeed her baby, she must express breast milk so that another member of the family can feed him.

The baby is suspected of having covid-19

Second scenario: the baby has covid-19 or is suspected of being infected, but the mother does not.

In this case, the child must be isolated for 14 days in his room and the mother must be considered a suspicious contact, so she will have to remain in quarantine for the same time as her child.

The precautions are the same as before: sanitize your hands and wear a mask when breastfeeding. Obviously, a baby under the age of two cannot wear a mask.

LOOK: Pregnancy and coronavirus: the advice of a specialist

Third scenario: both the mother and the baby have covid-19 or are suspected of having been infected.

In this case, to protect the rest of the family, both the mother and the baby must be isolated for 14 days in their room, and it is not recommended that the mother wear a mask when breastfeeding. Of course, as a routine preventive measure, hand washing and surface hygiene should continue.

Covid-19 is not transmitted through breast milk

In summary, breast milk is not a vehicle for the transmission of the new coronavirus and it is vital that the baby continues to receive it during the period of evaluation of the risk of contagion or recovery from the infection.

Finally, let us remember that World Health Organization recommends that a woman infected with coronavirus, who is about to give birth, should not undergo a cesarean section unless it is medically justified. And that when the baby is born, you should continue breastfeeding under the recommendations specified above.

Do you have questions about the coronavirus?

Send me your questions on Twitter, we will try to answer them in our next episodes. You can find me in @DrHuerta.

If you think this podcast is helpful, help others find it by rating and reviewing it on your favorite podcast app. We will be back tomorrow so be sure to subscribe to get the latest episode on your account.

And for the most up-to-date information, you can always head over to CNNEspanol.com. Thanks for your attention.


If you have any questions you can send it to doctor Elmer Huerta via Twitter. You can also go to CNNE.com/coronaviruspodcast for all episodes of our podcast «Coronavirus: Reality vs. fiction”.

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