Adjusting to the COVID-19 outbreak has been stressful. Finding answers to our questions has been difficult because, quite honestly, all the answers haven’t been figured out yet.
The virus is being studied intensely and recommendations, at this point, are very similar to those given for SARS and MERS. Please keep an eye out for updates because they are coming almost every day. We have listed below trusted resources which are being continuously updated with new information and we will update this article as necessary.
The CDC has issued guidelines for everyone to avoid spreading the virus and they are a great place to start if you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding.
Current information from the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists does not indicate that pregnant women are experiencing more severe symptoms. There is no evidence to suggest that pregnancy increases your risk of catching the virus. There is also no evidence to suggest, at this time, an increased risk of miscarriage. These resources are being updated daily, so if you are pregnant continue to talk to your healthcare provider and monitor updated information from trusted sources.
You will also want to check the resources from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists related to COVID-19. While there isn’t much information currently available for testing or other questions you might have, there are frequent updates.
If you want to breastfeed, a recent statement by The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine gives specific recommendations for your hospital stay and includes information if you are COVID-19 positive.
The CDC has offered general guidelines about pregnancy and breastfeeding, based on what is currently known about COVID-19 and what has been learned about other viral respiratory infections. Currently there are no contraindications to breastfeeding based on COVID-19.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also issued some preliminary guidelines. They indicate that there has been no COVID-19 virus found in either amniotic fluid or breast milk. Also if you are COVID-19 positive you CAN breastfeed, it is still recommended, but you should wash your hands and wear a mask to avoid infecting your infant.
A recent statement by the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine gives more specific details for both your time at home and in the hospital, including advice for COVID-19 positive parents.
Since current information does not indicate your breast milk can transmit the virus, standard breast milk storage protocols remain the recommendation. The CDC has some additional details for storing and thawing of pumped milk.
Note: Storage times are based on collecting and storing your milk under “very clean conditions” which includes washing your parts as recommended by the CDC. Always wash your hands before and after pumping.
You may want to additionally sanitize your pump parts daily with either steam, boiling water or using a dishwasher with the “sanitize” setting.
It is more important than ever to heed the warnings about sharing single-user breast pumps. DO NOT SHARE PUMPS INTENDED FOR ONLY ONE USER. We recommend cleaning your breast pump regularly to maintain “very clean conditions” for pumping under normal conditions.
If you suspect COVID-19 infection or have tested positive, you should wear a mask (and perhaps gloves depending on where you are pumping and your access to hand washing) while pumping and handling milk as well as during contact with your baby. Boil your pump parts for 10 minutes after each use (never boil your tubing!) and use a clean paper towel to dry them. Store in a clean place covered with another clean paper towel. Only use the paper towels one time. Wipe down your pump before and after pumping, including the tubing, power supply, etc. with a disinfecting wipe.
You may use an alcohol-based disinfectants on your Rumble Tuff pump, which have been proven effective at killing other viruses such as SARS. Make sure to use a product that is 70% ethanol (also recommended for thermometers and other medical equipment). You can also use other disinfectants proven effective against other viruses that contain sodium hypochlorite at .5% for disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and your Rumble Tuff pump.
If you are COVID-19 positive, current recommendations are that someone who is not infected feed your pumped milk to your infant, if possible. Follow other breastfeeding recommendations for COVID-19 positive parents. As recommendations change talk frequently to your healthcare team about your commitment to breast milk feeding and find solutions that work for your family and health situation.