Many mothers have questions and concerns about the safety of breastfeeding and/or pumping if they have tested positive for COVID-19 or they are awaiting their test results.
Here are some safety tips and precautions to take while breastfeeding or pumping with COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19:
Pumping and Bottle Feeding:
- Put on a mask, then wash your hands with soap and water.
- Clean your chest, including your breasts (avoid the nipple and areola), with soap and water before feeding your baby.
- Your support person should wash their hands and hand the baby to you to breastfeed.
- Once the feeding is finished, hand the baby back to your support person. The baby should remain at least 6 feet away from you when not breastfeeding.
*Make sure you have your personal pump for home use, ask your nurse for assistance if you do not have a pump.
- Wash your hands before pumping.
- Pump at least 8-12 times in 24 hours for around 15-20 minutes. More time is not always better; frequency elevates the hormones of lactation to produce more milk.
- Refer to “How to Keep Your Breast Pump Kit Clean” for cleaning of your pump part after each use.
- Document each time you pump in your “Pumping Log”.
Cleaning the Breast Pump and Pump Parts
- Store your milk in the Snappie breastmilk containers provided or breastmilk storage bags. Continue to label your milk with the date and time it was pumped.
- If milk is to be used immediately or within 4 hours, the milk can be left at room temperature. If the milk is to be stored, place it in your refrigerator. See the attached “Storage and Preparation of Breast Milk”.
*Listed below are the average total amounts a typical baby would take during a feeding. Use them as a guideline when deciding how much to feed your baby: (Please note that 30 ml = 1 ounce)
First 24 hours of life: 2-10ml
- hours of life: 5-15ml
- hours of life: 15-30ml
After 72 hours, at least 30ml up to 60ml as baby desires
If your baby is being cared for by your support person, your milk should be taken to the area where your baby is located and fed to the baby by paced bottle-feeding or stored for later use.
Pumping Once You Are Home
If You Need Assistance Once You Are Home:
- You may have to work with your pump settings to maintain comfort while making sure your breasts empty well.
- Use the same recommendations as above when cleaning your personal pump parts.
- Make sure a nurse or lactation consultant has checked for the proper fit of your flanges to help in milk removal and good supply. You may want to use extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or nipple cream for comfort with frequent pumping.
- If your pumping session is uncomfortable, contact a lactation consultant for further assistance.
- Speak with your health care provider about when you will be able to breastfeed your baby.
In order to follow current guidelines regarding COVID-19, we request that you do not bring your baby to The Women’s Hospital Great Beginnings Outpatient Lactation Clinic for routine weight checks.
You will receive a follow-up phone call at 24-48 hours to assess how you and your baby are doing with breastfeeding and/or pumping. If you have concerns about breastfeeding, please call 812-842-4239 before coming to The Women’s Hospital Great Beginnings Outpatient Lactation Clinic. A lactation consultant will help you decide if a visit is necessary. An appointment will be scheduled if a weight check or consultation is needed.