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Coronavirus Infection in Breastfeeding Mothers

The number of Coronavirus infections continues to spread to several countries. Anyone can get infected with this virus, breastfeeding mothers are no exception. So, how the impact of this virus on nursing mothers and babies who are breastfeeding?

Coronavirus infection or COVID-19 disease is caused by a new type of coronavirus that was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Viruses that attack the respiratory tract are still one group with viruses that cause SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS Cov.

Some people who are infected with Coronavirus have mild flu-like symptoms, but there are also sufferers of Coronavirus infection who experience severe symptoms due to pneumonia.

Symptoms and Mode of Transmission of Coronavirus Infection in Breastfeeding Mothers

Transmission of Coronavirus between humans can occur through direct contact, can also be through indirect contact, that is when touching objects that have been contaminated with Coronavirus. A person can also get COVID-19 if you accidentally inhale a splash of saliva containing Coronavirus, for example when a person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can occur within 2–14 days after contracting Coronavirus. COVID-19 in nursing mothers can cause mild symptoms such as flu. However, this virus attack can also cause breastfeeding mothers to experience more severe symptoms, such as:

  • Fever
  • Hard to breathe
  • Dry cough or phlegm
  • Throat pain
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Limp

In addition to some of the symptoms above, Coronavirus infection can also cause symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing up blood. However, these symptoms are more rarely found.

Steps for Corona Virus Infection

If nursing mothers experience the symptoms above, immediately consult a doctor to determine whether the symptoms are caused by Coronavirus infection or not.

If the doctor's examination results confirm Coronavirus infection, nursing mothers need to be hospitalized to receive monitoring and treatment from a doctor.

However, if the results of the examination do not show a Coronavirus infection, nursing mothers can rest at home and take medicines prescribed by the doctor until symptoms improve. During rest, nursing mothers are advised not to travel outside the home.

Can Babies Get Coronavirus Through Breast Milk?

To date, there have been no studies or case reports that suggest that Coronavirus infection can be transmitted through breast milk. Therefore, breastfeeding mothers who are exposed to Coronavirus infections may still breastfeed or breastfeed their babies.

However, the risk of infants contracting Coronavirus infection from their mothers remains. Transmission can occur when nursing mothers who have contracted Coronavirus touch their babies with unwashed hands, also when nursing mothers cough or sneeze near their babies.

To prevent coronavirus transmission to infants, nursing mothers are advised to:

  • Wear a mask when near babies and children, including when giving breast milk
  • Washing hands and cleaning the nipples and surrounding skin before and after breastfeeding the baby, also before milking
  • Expressing milk, either by pumping milk or manually (only by hand without using tools), then giving milk to babies with a clean bottle of milk
  • Give formula milk to the baby as a substitute for breast milk, if the mother cannot breastfeed
  • Eat nutritious and healthy food and consume vitamins for pregnant women.
  • Avoid being in the crowd. Try to keep your distance from each other when in a crowd.

Given the lack of information about Coronavirus infections in nursing mothers, nursing mothers need to make efforts to prevent infection as much as possible. Thus, nursing mothers can protect the health of themselves and their children.

If breastfeeding mothers experience symptoms of Coronavirus or COVID-19 infection, immediately consult a doctor to undergo examination and get appropriate treatment.



  1. Chen, et al. (2020). Epidemiological and Clinical Characteristics of 99 Cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a Descriptive Study. The Lancet.
  2. World Health Organization (2020). Rolling Updates on Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19).
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary.
  4. Mayo Clinic (2020). Diseases & Conditions. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

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