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Best Practices for COVID-19–Positive or Exposed Mothers—Breastfeeding and Pumping Milk

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Breast milk protects infants from many illnesses and is the best food for most infants.

During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, mothers who may be exposed or infected might be unsure about feeding their infant breast milk. Mothers, along with their family and health care professionals, should decide whether and how to start or continue breastfeeding. We do not know if mothers with COVID-19 can spread the virus to infants through breast milk, but it is unlikely based on what we do know. Women who have had COVID-19 have high amounts of antibodies to the virus in their breast milk, which coat the inside of infants’ noses and mouths, helping to block infection. Fresh (not frozen) milk is ideal because it is has live infection-fighting cells and offers the most protection.

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Article Information

Published Online: October 26, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.3341

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

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