Although not much data exists on the likelihood a new mother can transmit COVID-19 through breast feeding, researchers have determined the SARS virus has not been detected in the milk of nursing mothers. Like most viruses, COVID-19 is mainly spread by respiratory droplets through coughing and sneezing. All regular hygiene methods, likewashing hands frequently and disposing of tissues in a lined wastepaper bin are encouraged if a new mother is ill.
If a mother is confirmed to have COVID-19 while in the delivery phase, a hospital may temporarily isolate the mother from the newborn but continue to feed the baby the mother’s expressed milk by a healthy caregiver, according to guidelines written by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Since breast milk provides protections against many illnesses for the baby, the CDC does not have recommendations that call for breastfeeding to be halted in a women who is sick from COVID-19 or the flu.
Each case should be handled individually by the mother, family and physician, the CDC recommended.