COVID-19 and Breastfeeding

COVID-19 and Breastfeeding

Medela's CEO Annette Brüls on COVID-19 Information for Pregnant, Breastfeeding Mums, Healthcare Professionals and Partners

This is an unprecedented time for all of us.
On behalf of Medela, I would like to thank all doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and care teams that are caring for patients during this global pandemic.
Their courage is inspirational.
As these healthcare professionals work tirelessly to help patients and support our communities, Medela has also taken steps to help address this global public health crisis to ensure supply, triple the production of the most urgent products, provide information to our customers and protect the safety of our employees:

1) Ensuring access to our products.

We are carefully managing our entire supply chain and have built a dedicated COVID-19 team who is continuously assessing the situation and works with our suppliers and partners to ensure timely delivery of our products and continued safe manufacturing.

While some delays of individual products can currently not be ruled out, we are presently not expecting any major impact on our ability to supply our customers with the desired products.

The situation remains of course very dynamic and we will be updating this information as needed.

2) Tripling the production of our Airway & Surgical Suction and Chest Drainage Systems.

As hospitals around the world are seeking to expand their capacity and set-up temporary care facilities, the demands for our mobile airway and surgical suction pumps and for our mobile digital chest drainage systems has increased significantly.

Indeed, our surgical suction devices have a special virus filter system and the mobility of our devices is essential when no access to central hospital vacuum is available.

We are doing everything to meet these urgent demands and are working on tripling our production capacity as fast as possible.

3) Being there for mums and healthcare professionals in times of uncertainty.

With the coronavirus disease spreading, so are many doubts, concerns and inaccurate information.

As the go-to partner for healthcare professionals as well as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, we aim to provide them with accurate answers about breastfeeding and COVID-19 and help them cope in these difficult times.

Indeed, breastfeeding and mother's own milk are more important than ever at this time, as they protect against many illnesses.

Medela has created a specific COVID-19 online information hub around breastfeeding to give our community the latest and most credible information.

4) Protecting our employees and local communities.

We have established global and local task forces to continuously provide our employees with accurate, specific and timely information, answer their questions and concerns and give them guidance in these uncertain times. We have implemented remote work options for nearly all employees who are able to do so and increased safety measures to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

For other roles, such as manufacturing and distribution, we have optimised our shift models to minimise personal contact amongst operators as well as to external personnel. This is supported by onsite working guidelines and increased cleaning measures, all while practicing social distancing and recommended hygiene measures.

Information from Medela's COVID-19 online information hub To provide the latest and most credible information regarding breastfeeding, human milk, safety and health for Australians, Medela has created a COVID-19 online information hub to help healthcare professionals and breastfeeding mums get answers from reliable and trustworthy sources.

How do I protect my baby against COVID-19?
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for most infants, and provides protection against many illnesses. But, as the CDC notes, there is much unknown about this virus. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, we recommend that you look at the CDC's guidance and connect with your healthcare provider if you have any specific concerns.

• Clean hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser
• Avoid people who are sick (coughing and sneezing)
• Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets, sinks)
• Launder items including washable plush toys as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people's items.

A complete review of the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 can be found at:
In addition, UNICEF's recommendations can be found at:
Consult with your health care provider if you have further questions or concerns.

How does Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread?
Much is still unknown about how the disease is spread. UNICEF and WHO state that person-to-person spread occurs mainly by breathing in respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza (flu) and other respiratory pathogens spread. These respiratory droplets also land on objects or surfaces and people touching surfaces contaminated with the virus can get infected by touching their eyes, nose or mouth with their contaminated hands. The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.

What are the symptoms of a coronavirus infection?
The main symptoms include
• fever (>37.8 °C / >100.0 °F)
• cough, i.e. acute (newly developed) cough and/or
• shortness of breath or breathing difficulties and/or tiredness

Can I breastfeed if I am infected with Covid-19?
UNICEF states that considering the benefits of breastfeeding and the insignificant role of breast milk in the transmission of other respiratory viruses, the mother can continue breastfeeding, while applying all the necessary precautions. The limited studies on breastfeeding women with COVID-19 and other coronavirus infections have not detected the virus in breast milk. It is not known whether mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus via their breast milk. Currently, the primary concern is not whether the virus can be transmitted through breast milk, but rather whether an infected mother can transmit the virus through respiratory droplets during the period of breastfeeding. Precautions to avoid spreading the virus to your infant include washing hands before holding your baby, and wearing a face mask when in close contact with your baby as, for example, during direct breastfeeding.

I am pregnant. Will it hurt the baby if I have COVID-19 during the pregnancy?
According to the CDC, at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether the virus is transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, or the potential impact this may have on the baby. This is currently being this time. A small number of problems with pregnancy or delivery (e.g. preterm birth) have been reported in babies born to mothers who tested positive for COVID-19 during their pregnancy. However, it is not clear if these outcomes were actually related to maternal infection or not.

I am pregnant. Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with COVID-19?I am pregnant. How do I protect myself from COVID-19 during the pregnancy?
Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. Please see the answer to the question How can I protect myself and others?

How can I protect myself and others?
Official bodies like WHO and UNICEF recommend:
• washing our hands frequently and thoroughly with water and soap or sanitiser and avoiding close contact with people who are ill. Furthermore, not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
• catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, binning it in a sealed waste bin and washing your hands as all this helps minimise the risk of infection and disease spreading.
• avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing people while greeting.
• avoiding close contact with people who are obviously ill.
• social distancing (keep enough distance to other people).
• stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

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