HomeHealth articlescovid-19What Are the Experiences of Breastfeeding During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Breastfeeding Experience During COVID-19

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This article focuses on how breastfeeding is managed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read below to know more.

Written by

Dr. Sanchana. N

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha

Published At September 12, 2023
Reviewed AtMarch 26, 2024


The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted people's lives all over the world. It has affected every aspect of life, including the experience of breastfeeding. Many mothers are struggling to make breastfeeding work during this challenging time. Breastfeeding is an important part of a baby's health and development, so mothers must find ways to continue breastfeeding during the pandemic.

What Are the Necessary Precautions While Breastfeeding?

There are a few key things to keep in mind.

  • First, it is important for mothers to get the support they need. Breastfeeding support groups can provide information and advice for mothers, and many are now meeting virtually. Maintaining a good relationship with a healthcare provider is important, as they can provide important guidance and support.

  • Second, it is important to practice good hygiene. Breastfeeding mothers should wash their hands before and after feeding and ensure that their baby's hands are clean. They should also avoid sharing feeding equipment, such as bottles and pacifiers, with other people.

  • Third, it is important to be aware of the risks of COVID-19 transmission through breast milk. Despite the lack of proof to date, the virus can spread through breast milk., it is important to take precautions, such as wearing a face mask while breastfeeding.

  • Finally, it is important to remember that breastfeeding is a journey with ups and downs. It is important to be patient and to ask for help when needed.

What Does the WHO Recommend When the Mother Tests Positive for COVID-19?

Breastfeeding is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no proof that the virus can spread via breast milk, so mothers are encouraged to continue breastfeeding their babies.

Mothers can take precautions to reduce the risk of infection while breastfeeding by wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and disinfecting any surfaces that may come into contact with the baby.

When breastfeeding, a mother with COVID-19 should take extra measures, such as using a mask and cleaning her hands both before and after. She can use a breast pump to express milk if she is unable to feed her child herself because of illness.

It is important to note that keeping babies close to their mothers and providing breast milk can provide them with important antibodies that can help protect against infection.

What Are the Challenges Faced by Breastfeeding Mothers?

Breastfeeding mothers may face several challenges during the lockdown, including:

  • Limited Access to Breastfeeding Support: Many lactation consultants and support groups may be closed or have limited availability during the lockdown, making it difficult for breastfeeding mothers to access support and advice.

  • Isolation and Mental Health: Lockdowns can lead to social isolation and increased stress, negatively affecting a mother's mental health and her breastfeeding experience.

  • Lack of Privacy: With more family members at home during the lockdown, it may be difficult for breastfeeding mothers to find a private space to breastfeed comfortably and without interruption.

  • Disruption to Routine: Lockdowns may disrupt a mother's routine, such as her work schedule or access to healthy food, which can indirectly affect her breastfeeding experience.

  • Fear of Infection: Breastfeeding mothers may worry about contracting or passing the virus to their babies, leading to anxiety and decreased confidence in breastfeeding practices.

Breastfeeding mothers can overcome these challenges by seeking virtual breastfeeding support, prioritizing their mental health, discussing their concerns with their healthcare provider, and creating a comfortable space for breastfeeding at home.

How to Overcome the Challenges of Breastfeeding?

Here are some strategies that can help breastfeeding mothers overcome the challenges they may face during the lockdown and continue to breastfeed:

  • Seek Virtual Breastfeeding Support: Many lactation consultants and breastfeeding support groups offer virtual consultations and meetings. Through video conferencing or phone calls, breastfeeding mothers can get the assistance and advice they need to overcome breastfeeding challenges.

  • Prioritize Mental Health: Breastfeeding mothers can prioritize their mental health by caring for themselves, getting help from a professional if necessary, and interacting with other breastfeeding mothers online.

  • Find a Private Space for Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding mothers can create a comfortable and private space for breastfeeding at home. They can use a nursing cover, choose a quiet and secluded room, or communicate with their family members about their need for privacy during breastfeeding.

  • Establish a Routine: Breastfeeding mothers can create a daily routine that includes breaks for breastfeeding and self-care. They can also plan ahead for meals and snacks to ensure they have adequate nutrition to support breastfeeding.

  • Address Fear of Infection: To ease any worries about COVID-19 and breastfeeding, nursing mothers can practice good hygiene, such as routinely washing their hands and donning a mask when necessary, to reduce the risk of infection. They can also consult with their healthcare provider to address any questions regarding breastfeeding and COVID-19.

By taking these steps to overcome challenges and prioritize their breastfeeding experience, mothers can continue providing their babies with breast milk benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to Care for the Newborn?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended necessary steps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Before touching the infant, caregivers should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, they should use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 % alcohol.

  • Caregivers may have been exposed if they share a residence or have had frequent contact.

  • Testing should be done to see if someone has COVID-19 who has had close contact with them.

  • On experiencing symptoms, get checked out immediately and stay in bed until the test results. If the test is positive, adhere to the isolation advice.

  • Be tested at least five days after the final close exposure with a COVID-19 carrier if one displays any symptoms.

  • Monitor the newborn for fever, running nose, cough, vomiting, and improper feeding symptoms.

If the mother is able to care for the baby and another healthy caregiver is not available, the mother can take care of the infant.

  • Before contacting the baby, wash the hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 % alcohol if soap and water are not readily available.

  • For the whole period of isolation, wear a mask whenever within six feet of the infant and other people. This can avoid infecting others by wearing a mask.

  • The newborn should be kept isolated and away from other members of the family and caregivers who have COVID-19 as much as possible. They should adhere to the hand washing and mask suggestions above if they have to take care of the newborn.

The isolation time ends five days after the onset of the symptoms and after twenty-four hours without a fever or the use of fever-relieving medication. Some COVID-19 symptoms are becoming better.

Five days after the COVID-19 test result is positive, the isolation time will get over once the symptoms subside. Even when the period of seclusion is over, continue to cover the face until day 10. After 10 days, there is no need to follow the extra measures but wash the hands before touching the baby. On having a seriously compromised immune system or seriously unwell with COVID-19, these timelines do not apply. Visit "quarantine and isolation" when it is secure, and consult a medical professional.


The COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous difficulties for breastfeeding mothers, but it is important to remember that breastfeeding is still possible. With the right support and precautions, mothers can continue to provide their babies with the best nutrition and care during this difficult time.

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Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha
Dr. Shubadeep Debabrata Sinha

Infectious Diseases


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