COVID-19 & Human Milk Feeding

COVID-19 during lactation or breast/chest feeding: 

Human milk and direct breast/chest feeding are still the best nutrition for infants and can provide antibodies and protection against many illnesses. Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), human milk is not a likely source of COVID-19 infection.  

If you are currently lactating and experiencing symptoms or are suspected of a COVID-19 infection please 
  • Wash your hands prior to holding and feeding your baby
  • Wear a face mask while feeding or in close contact with your baby
  • Wash your hands before touching pump parts and clean all parts thoroughly after all uses.

COVID-19 Vaccine while Pregnant, lactating or trying to conceive:

Deciding whether or not to vaccinate for COVID-19 while lactating is an extremely personal choice. The CDC recommends:

  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine. It can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
  • Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
  • There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

Evidence Based Research – Breastfeeding

Per the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are breastfeeding. Clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines currently used in the United States did not include people who are breastfeeding. Therefore, there are limited data available on the:

  • Safety of COVID-19 vaccines in people who are breastfeeding
  • Effects of vaccination on the breastfed baby
  • Effects on milk production or excretion

COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause infection in anyone, including the mother or the baby, and vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies. More data are needed to determine what level of protection these antibodies may provide to the baby.

For more detailed information about specific circumstances please see the CDC’s COVID-19 Breastfeeding page here.

HCLC recommends that you review the links below and make an appointment with your provider to discuss if you are considering the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Infant Risk Center “COVID-19 Vaccine in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding” page here.

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine “Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccination in Lactation” Page here.