How will COVID-19 impact my baby? (Answers from experts)

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads. Stay informed with the latest health information per the CDC. More Information on COVID-19 and Pregnancy from the CDC

Q: How many visitors are allowed in the NICU?

A: Given the uncertainty around COVID-19 and the rapidly changing environment, visitor policies are constantly changing. Please refer to your facility webpage for visitor updates.

Q: Can COVID-19 be transmitted through breast milk?

A: Currently, there is no evidence that COVID-19 transmits through breastmilk. Refer to and follow CDC guidance.

Q: Once I return home, how can I protect my baby from COVID-19?

A: At this time, there's no vaccine for COVID-19, but there are ways to protect yourself and your baby from exposure to the virus. Once home, we encourage you to limit the number of visitors coming into the home and leverage technology to connect with loved ones (ex: FaceTime, Skype or Zoom).

To avoid infection:

  • Avoid people who are sick or who have been exposed to the virus
  • Stay home as much as possible
  • Maintain distance between yourself and other people outside of your home (at least 6 feet - about 2 arms' length - from other people)
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. The CDC recommends that everyone 2 years and older wear a cloth face covering that covers their nose and mouth when they are out in the community.
    • Wearing a cloth face covering is not a substitute for everyday preventive actions, and should be used in addition to the prevention steps detailed below. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect you, the wearer, but it may prevent you from spreading the virus to others.
    • Do not put cloth face coverings on babies or children younger than 2 years. Plastic face shields for newborns and infants are not recommended.
    • Cloth face coverings should not be worn by anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, can't move, or is otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes (using your elbow is a good technique)
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Clean and disinfect objects you touch regularly and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Use hot, soapy water or a dishwasher to wash dishes and utensils.
  • Talk to your health care provider about your health and risk of COVID-19

Furthermore, during COVID-19, parents may experience increased worry and tiredness that could affect their infants' sleep practices. Per the CDC, you can help reduce your baby's risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related deaths by doing the following:

  • Place your baby on his or her back during naps and at night.
  • Use a firm, flat sleep surface, such as a mattress in a crib, covered by a fitted sheet.
  • Have the baby share your room but not your bed. Your baby should not sleep on an adult bed, cot, air mattress, or couch, or on a chair alone, with you, or with anyone else.
  • Keep soft bedding such as blankets, pillows, bumper pads, and soft toys out of your baby's sleep area.
  • Do not cover your baby's head or allow your baby to get too hot. Signs your baby may be getting too hot include if he or she is sweating or if his or her chest feels hot.
  • Do not smoke or allow anyone to smoke around your baby.

You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 disease at CDC's Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus.