How pregnant or breastfeeding mothers can protect themselves from COVID-19
Who would have thought the year 2020 would be a pandemic season with a new virus and left us confused about our future and expectations?
COVID – 19 virus has spread rapidly across the world beyond expectations. If you are pregnant or a breastfeeding mother, you likely to have many concerns about how the coronavirus affects you and your baby. You must be thinking about how you can protect yourself, your milk, and your baby in this COVID 19 pandemic. As with any virus, there are some steps to protect yourself and your baby in this season.
There is currently no evidence that pregnant or breastfeeding mothers are at an increased risk of COVID 19. But the general precautions and recommendations that governments have made for other people should be complied with by you if you are a pregnant and breastfeeding mother.
You can help protect yourself and your baby by following the preventive measures such as washing your hands thoroughly and often for at least 30 seconds and use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content, avoiding close contact with people when you go out in public, covering your mouth and nose and using a face mask and staying home if you are unwell.
If you are a mother who is expecting a new baby or breastfeeding a little one, you can give yourself up to some online shopping for your new baby and you from the comfort of home. Being pregnant and breastfeeding mother can be a stressful time during this pandemic. But you can keep in touch with your family and friends through phone calls and social media while practicing social distancing.
Does the virus affect newborn babies?
Some newborn babies have tested positive for the virus COVID-19 shortly after birth. Most of them had mild or no symptoms and recovered. It is unknown if these newborns got the virus before, during, or after birth from close contact with an infected person. Around the world, there have been very few reports of newborn babies with severe COVID 19 illness.
When necessary steps are taken, the risk of your newborn baby becoming infected with the virus is very low. But if a mother is severely sick with COVID 19, she might need to be temporarily separated from her newborn baby.
Can the virus be transmitted in the womb?
There is no conclusive evidence to support that the coronavirus can be transmitted to an unborn child in the womb. Also, there is no evidence to suggest an increased risk of miscarriage if you are pregnant and affected by COVID 19.
Some women with COVID 19 have given birth prematurely. It is unclear or unconfirmed whether the coronavirus caused these premature births or the babies were born prematurely for the benefit of the mother's health and for them to recover soon.
You should practice all the rules of social distancing and proper hygiene and avoid anyone who has suggestive symptoms of the coronavirus.
Improve immune system health is important
If you are a pregnant or a breastfeeding mother, you must be concerned about the impact of COVID 19 on you and your baby’s health. Protecting yourself means ensuring your immune system is at its best.
When you are pregnant, your immune system can be weakened and naturally changes to support your pregnancy continue successfully. Therefore at this season, you must be concerned that improving immune health is important to fight against the virus. All of your body functions need to be healthy. A healthy diet, plenty of sleep, exercise, and staying hydrated will boost your immune system. It will be better if you can discuss your individual diet plans and exercise habits with your health care provider.
Does Breastfeeding or breastmilk transmit the virus?
Many discussions have been increased about whether mothers with COVID – 19 transmit the virus to their babies through breastfeeding or breastmilk. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), you should most certainly continue breastfeeding because your breastmilk will help your baby to protect against contagious diseases and help strengthen the immune system. The virus has not been found in breastmilk samples though some babies born to mothers with coronavirus have tested positive for the virus.
It is recommended to use a breastmilk pump machine if you are COVID-19 positive and have someone else feed the baby from a bottle. You should use a dedicated milk extractor (not shared)
You should take these necessary steps to protect your baby from passing the infection.
- You should use a face mask when holding and breastfeeding your baby. Do not put a mask over the baby’s face.
- Wash your hands before touching your baby and breastfeeding.
- Wash your hands before touching any breast milk pump machine.
- Clean milk pumping machine after use. Follow recommendations for proper milk pumping machine clean. Check below for steps.
Breast milk pump cleaning guidelines
- Wash your hands well at least for 20 seconds with soap and water before and after using your breast milk pump and touching breast pump parts.
- After pumping the milk, disassemble your pump machine parts that come into the contact with breasts and breast milk.
- Clean all the parts including dials, buttons, switches with a disinfecting wipe.
- Wash all the parts that touch your breasts and breast milk with warm, soapy water in a dedicated (not used before) washbasin.
- Allow all cleaned parts to air dry on a clean paper or a towel.
Check out these products for your breast milk expressing needs.
Little Martin’s Electric Double Breast Pump With Rechargeable Battery (Pink)
Little Martin’s Electric Breast Milk Pump for breast feeding – Rechargeable Battery for Travel
What is the benefit of breastfeeding and breastmilk?
There are many questions and several concerns about the coronavirus disease and its inferences for breastfeeding.
Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for your baby. Breastmilk includes antibodies that directly transferring from you to your baby. Many pieces of evidence support the importance of breastfeeding for a baby's growth, development, and health. Furthermore, breastmilk helps them avoid obesity and no communicable diseases later in life. Therefore, having COVID-19 should not stop you from giving your baby breast milk. Breastmilk can protect your baby from infections including ears, lungs, and digestive systems.
The benefits of breastfeeding are not only for the baby, it can also boost your health. Hormones released in your body during breastfeeding develop wellness and reduce stress and anxiety. Remember breastfeeding and breastmilk has numerous health benefits for babies and mother. Therefore make sure to talk with your health care provider if you have any confusion.
Make sure your express milk storage area is clean and sterilized
Expressing milk with a breast milk pump machine
There are two different types of breast pumps such as a mother milk pump and an electric milk pump. A Manual or mother milk pump is not as quick as an electric milk pump machine. Ensure that your milk extractor is clean and sterilized before using them. The electric milk pump is much like a manual pump except that you do not have to do the pumping yourself. You have to attach the suction cup to your breast or breasts (double pump machine) of your electric milk pump.
You should ensure that your express milk storage area is clean and sterilized. After you have expressed milk, you must put it into a clean, closed container or a special breast milk packing bag. It is recommended to refrigerate or freeze breastmilk after expressing. Make sure that the refrigerator or freezer you put the expressed milk is clean. Also, the kitchen countertops and sink should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Do not forget to note down the date of expressing on the storage container or milk packing bag.
As a mother to feed your baby, you should ensure that the storage solution you use to store your expressed milk is best and keep your milk wholesome and fresh for your baby when he needs it. Therefore it is important to store your breast milk in the best milk pouch bags.
Check out and shop these products for your expressed breast milk storage needs.
Little Martin’s Breastmilk Bottle 150ml
Little Martin's Breast Milk Storage Bags - 60 Counts
Visit the Doctor when you are sick. Don't try to avoid being affected by the virus and refused to seek medical support if you feel anything wrong with your body or baby
You should not skip your health care appointments during and after pregnancy.
Call your doctor if you have any health concerns and seek medical help if you feel anything wrong with your body or your baby. You must not delay getting emergency care because of COVID 19. Call your local emergency department. They should have a plant o protect you and your baby from getting COVID 19.
If you feel you are growing COVID -19 symptoms including cough, sore throat, fever, and shortness of breathing stay home and call your health care provider. They will provide you with the necessary instructions on where the testing can be arranged.