Breast milk not likely source of COVID-19 transmission, CDC says

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued revised guidance early last week for women who are breastfeeding while they have suspected or confirmed COVID-19, saying breast milk is "not a likely source of infection," CNN reported.

The CDC had initially said it was not known whether mothers could transmit the virus through breast milk.

In the latest guidance, the agency said a woman with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should follow guidelines on home quarantine or isolation. The child being breastfed should be considered a close contact and be quarantined during the parent's recommended period of home isolation and for 14 days thereafter.

The guidelines also provide the following precautions while breastfeeding for those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

  • Wash hands before touching child or expressing breast milk
  • Wear a mask when less than 6 feet from the child
  • Clean and sanitize breast pumps

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If the mother prefers not to breast feed or bottle feed their child while sick, the CDC said a healthy caregiver who is not at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 may feed expressed breast milk to the child.

If the child has suspected or confirmed COVID-19, the agency recommends mothers wear masks while breastfeeding and wash their hands frequently.


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