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​​​​​​The following information is available for parents and carers on the NSW Health COVID-19 FAQ webpage.

Should I have the COVID-19 vaccination if I am breastfeeding?

Vaccination with Pfizer (Comirnaty) COVID-19 vaccine is recommended if you are breastfeeding. You don’t need to stop breastfeeding before or after your Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.

Your healthcare provider can help you to assess the benefits and risks of vaccination. For more information go to COVID-19 vaccination – Shared decision making guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines go to COVID-19 vaccination: information for the NSW community.

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How can I protect myself / my family?

The NSW Government website has information on how to protect yourself and others. The Raising Children Network has a Covid-19: family guide webpage with information and advice including links to resources for parents on talking to children about COVID-19.

Up to date information is available on NSW Health Facebook and Twitter. Facebook​ and Twitter​.

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How can I protect my baby?

The NSW Government website has information on how to protect yourself and others.

Everyone in the family should have the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccination when it becomes available. Babies can have the seasonal influenza vaccine from 6 months of age. For more information, including a list of all groups eligible for free seasonal influenza vaccine, go to the NSW Health webpage Seasonal influenza vaccination 2021.

Look in your baby’s Blue Book to make sure their vaccination schedule is up to date. Routine vaccination is the safest, most effective way to protect babies and children from illness.

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If you are suspected or confirmed of COVID-19

The risk of transmission of the virus is via your respiratory secretions. You should take special hygiene precautions when feeding your baby, expressing breastmilk, practising skin to skin contact, or undertaking care when you are closer than 1.5 metres from your baby. 

These special hygiene precautions include

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub, especially before touching your baby, breast pumps or bottles
  •  Wearing a surgical mask:
    • Replacing masks when damp
    • Disposing of masks immediately after use
    • Not re-using a mask
    • Not touching the front of the mask but untying it from behind or remove by the ear loops
    • Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub after removing the mask
  • Sneezing or coughing into your elbow or a tissue (immediately disposing of it) and using alcohol-based hand rub or washing your hands with soap and water
  • Regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and feeding utensils if expressing breastmilk or using formula.

Your health professional will talk with you about how long you need to continue these extra precautions.

If I have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 can I continue to feed my baby?

Breastfeeding

Yes, you can continue to breastfeed or feed your baby expressed breastmilk.

The benefits of feeding your baby breastmilk outweigh any potential risk of transmission of coronavirus through breastmilk.

To avoid spreading the virus follow the special hygiene precautions listed above in ‘how can I protect my baby’. Your health professional will talk with you about how long you need to continue these extra precautions.

If you are too ill to breastfeed, try to express milk for your baby. Consider whether someone who is well can feed the expressed breast milk to your baby by a bottle, cup or spoon, following appropriate infection prevention methods. You can discuss feeding options with your health professional.

If expressing breastmilk by hand or with a manual or electric breast pump, you should wash your hands before touching your breast, the pump and bottle parts and wear a mask while expressing. All feeding equipment, including pumps, should be washed and disinfected according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website - How to keep your breast pump kit clean provides general advice for parents/carers.

The Raising Children Network provides guidance on Expressing and storing breastmilk

The Australian Breastfeeding Association has advice about COVID-19 and breastfeeding 

The Australian Breastfeeding Association runs the National Breastfeeding Helpline 1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 268). The Breastfeeding Helpline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If for some time you have been too unwell to breastfeed or express breastmilk you may wish to re-lactate once you are well enough. Support is available from Child & Family Health Nursing, the Australian Breastfeeding Association and the Lactation Consultants of Australia and New Zealand.

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Formula Feeding

Yes, you can continue to formula feed your baby.

To avoid spreading the virus follow the special hygiene precautions listed above in ‘how can I protect my baby’.

Regularly clean and disinfect surfaces and feeding utensils. Follow the advice provided by the Raising Children Network on Bottle feeding: cleaning and sterilising equipment

Your health professional will talk with you about how long you need to continue these extra precautions.

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What if I can’t get my usual baby formula?

Infant formula should be used for babies in the first year of life. Don’t use follow on formula for any baby under 12 months – only use infant formula.

If you are unable to get your usual brand of infant formula, don’t worry – you can use any infant formula as all preparations have a similar nutritional composition to comply with legislation. Check preparation instructions for the formula as they may be different from your usual formula.

If you are using particular formulas for a clinical reason (for example, allergies or reflux) and can’t access these, speak with your health professional.

Always prepare infant formula according to the instructions on the tin – do not be tempted to add more water to make it last longer as diluting the milk could endanger your baby’s health.

Document information

Developed by

Health and Social Policy Branch​

Endorsed by

Dr Nigel Lyons, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning, NSW Ministry of Health.

Reviewed by

  • Publicly available information has been consolidated for ease of access through the NSW Health COVID-19 Frequently asked questions (FAQ) webpage
  • Reviewed by Clinical Lead, Child and Family Health community of practice
  • Input provided by Health Protection NSW​.

For use by

  • NSW Health COVID-19 FAQ webpage
  • Maternity, neonatal, paediatric and child and family health services​.​​​
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Current as at: Wednesday 21 July 2021
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW