The Department of Health (DOH) recently released guidelines for pregnant women and breastfeeding women that answer their most pressing questions.
Is it okay to hold your newborn if you’re a confirmed COVID-19 patient?
Right now, DOH says it’s okay for a mom who is a confirmed COVID-19 patient or suspected patient to hold her baby as long as she takes the necessary preventive measures, which include:
- Wear a mask and replace it regularly
- Wash your hands correctly before holding the baby
- Make sure the infant’s surroundings are clean
- No kissing the baby, even if you’re wearing a mask
COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets or touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. However, the advantages of holding the baby and breastfeeding him outweigh the preventable risks.
The DOH and the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest moms practice essential newborn care (ENC) or Unang Yakap, which includes kangaroo mother care, or immediate skin-to-skin contact to promote initial breastfeeding.
Kangaroo mother care is essential to babies born prematurely or who were born with low birth weight. Direct skin-to-skin contact transfers the mother’s warmth and protective bacteria that helps keep the baby calm and healthy. It's not only recommended immediately after birth but as long as possible, even after the mom and baby are sent home from the hospital.
Can a mom with confirmed COVID-19 still breastfeed her baby?
So far, studies have shown that the novel coronavirus is not found in breast milk. Breastfeeding is strongly recommended as long as the mom is wearing a mask and taking all necessary preventive measures to protect the baby (see above). Breast milk is the best source of nutrition and newborns’ first protection against infections.
If a nursing mom’s condition is too severe to breastfeed, the DOH suggests pumping and storing breast milk in a clean container. The expressed milk may be given to the infant via a feeding cup. Take note to practice hand washing before pumping breast milk and handling or cleaning any infant feeding or breast pump paraphernalia.
Preggos need to be in constant communication with their doctor regarding prenatal checkups, which are vital to ensure that both mom and baby are doing well. But what do you do during quarantine when public transportation is limited? Read here.