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Breastfeeding and Caring for Newborns if You Have COVID-19

We still have much to learn about the risks of COVID-19 for newborns of people with COVID-19, however we do know these facts:

  • Although the absolute risks are low, people who are pregnant or recently pregnant are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19 compared with people who are not pregnant. People who have COVID-19 during pregnancy are also more likely to give birth early and experience a stillbirth.

  • Most newborns of people who had COVID-19 during pregnancy do not have COVID-19 when they are born.

  • Some newborns have tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after birth. We don’t know if these newborns got the virus before, during, or after birth.

  • Most newborns who tested positive for COVID-19 had mild or no symptoms and recovered. Reports say some newborns developed severe COVID-19 illness.

See the latest data on birth and infant outcomes among pregnant women with COVID-19.

Caring for your newborn in the hospital if you have COVID-19

Current evidence suggests that the chance of a newborn getting COVID-19 from their birth parent is low, especially when the parent takes steps (such as wearing a mask and washing hands) to prevent spread before and during care of the newborn.

Decide if your newborn is rooming-in with you in the hospital.

Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of having your newborn stay in the same room with you. Having your newborn stay in the room with you has the benefit of making breastfeeding easier, and it helps with parent-newborn bonding.

Take precautions if your newborn is rooming-in with you in the hospital.

If you are in isolation for COVID-19 and are sharing a room with your newborn, take the following steps to reduce the chance of spreading the virus to your newborn:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before holding or caring for your newborn. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Wear a well-fitting mask whenever you are within 6 feet of your newborn.

  • Keep your newborn more than 6 feet away from you as much as possible.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about how you can protect your newborn, such as using a physical barrier (for example, placing the newborn in an incubator) while in the hospital.

You most likely will not pass the virus to your newborn or any other close contacts after your isolation period has ended.

  • If you had symptoms, your isolation period ends after:

    • 5 days since symptoms first appeared, and

    • 24 hours with no fever, without fever-reducing medicine, and

    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.

  • If you never had symptoms, your isolation period ends after

    • 5 days have passed since you tested positive for COVID-19.

Once your isolation period has ended you should still wear a mask until day 10. After 10 days, you should still wash your hands before caring for your newborn, but you don’t need to take the other precautions. These timeframes do not apply if you have a severely weakened immune system or were severely ill with COVID-19. Please refer to “Quarantine and Isolation” and consult with your health care professional about when it is safe for you to end your isolation period.

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