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Pregnancy and COVID-19: Breastfeeding Transmission

October 30, 2020
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Transcript

"Another choice may be to actually breastfeed the baby. Now, if you have another care provider feeding the baby, you would want to be doing that with breast milk, through a breast pump and expressing breast milk, because that's going to be best for baby. If you're able to do that. But if you decide you want to be the person to physically breastfeed the baby, then you want to make sure you reduce the risk of transmission as much as possible. And the way to do that is through personal protective equipment, essentially for you as the mom to be wearing a face mask properly covering mouth and nose, because transmission to a newborn is through respiratory droplets, mucus membranes. And you want to make sure that you sanitize your hands and, or wash your hands appropriately before and after breastfeeding the baby. And if you choose to go that route, your risk of transmission to the baby may still be positive, but maybe reduced significantly so that you're protecting your baby as much as possible. We know there's a lot of benefit to breastfeeding the baby in terms of bonding in terms of immuno protection or protecting the baby from future infections, you may even be transmitting some COVID-19 antibodies to the baby that may possibly, we don't have these answers yet, but may possibly help the baby fight any infection that he or she gets. We also know some of the benefits of breastfeeding around epigenetics, meaning what the baby's health will be like long-term. And so if you decide to go that route, make sure you're fully informed and you do the best that you can to reduce the risk to your baby. Now, if your baby is found to be COVID-19 positive and you're COVID-19 positive, then it doesn't matter so much in terms of what you do and full contact is completely acceptable. So again, check out the center for disease control guidelines, they're emerging all the time and make sure you have these important vital conversations with your healthcare provider, your healthcare team, and the hospital where you plan to deliver your baby."

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