FAQs about the current COVID-19 pandemic
Coronavirus and expressing breast milk
The current situation regarding the spread of COVID-19 presents us with challenges that we have never faced before. Mothers infected with the virus must above all protect their immediate environment as well as the littlest members of their families. The antibodies in breast milk play a role for babies that should not be underestimated here. It is therefore important to us at Ardo to provide you with reliable information from dependable sources about expressing breast milk.
The mother is infected: may the baby be fed with breast milk?
Yes, the baby can continue to be breastfed and fed with expressed breast milk.
According to current information, coronavirus has not been detected in the breast milk of infected mothers. Whether COVID-19 even passes into breast milk or not has not been fully clarified.1) However, it can be assumed that the breast milk contains antibodies that the baby absorbs, thus preventing an infection or reducing the severity of an infection.2)
UNICEF made the following statement about this issue3):
- Considering the benefits of breastfeeding and the insignificant role of breast milk in the transmission of pathogens that cause respiratory diseases, the mother should continue to breastfeed while applying appropriate hygiene measures.
- If the mother’s health deteriorates to the point where she feels unable to breastfeed, breast milk can be expressed and fed to the baby by a member of the family.
Which hygiene measures does UNICEF recommend?4)
When touching the baby, the mother should carry out the following measures to keep the possibility of infecting the baby as low as possible:
- A face mask should be worn when in the immediate environment of or when in close contact with the baby.
- Before and after direct contact with the child, it is essential that the mother thoroughly wash her hands.
- Surfaces that are contaminated must be disinfected.
What must be noted when expressing?
To keep contagion as low as possible, the following hygiene measures must be adhered to:
1. Wear a face mask during preparations for expressing breast milk, while expressing, and when cleaning the pumpset and pump.
2. Thoroughly wash hands before and after expressing according to the recommendations from WHO.5)
3. Process the ARDO pumpset after every use after disassembling it.
- Wash and thoroughly rinse the pumpset and boil for about 10 minutes according to the instructions for use.
- Use disposable paper towels to dry.
- Store the pumpset in a clean location and cover with a cloth towel. Only use the towel once.
4. Clean the surfaces of the ARDO breastpumps (Carum and Calypso), the container, and the mobile stand after every use using a detergent solution and wipe down with a disinfectant that does not contain phenol. You can find more information about this under the question “Can Ardo breastpumps continue to be hired out?”.
- In the hospital: The current options for sterilization and cleaning can be found in the corresponding instructions for use and are guided by the instructions from the particular hospital.
Can Ardo breastpumps continue to be hired out?
Yes, the breastpumps can continue to be hired out to mothers and the same conditions apply as before. Because it is not apparent if a pump is contaminated, the following points must be complied with:
1. The pump must be cleaned while wearing gloves and a face mask.
2. Careful and thorough wipe disinfection of the surfaces is essential:
- Breastpump including rubber feet, bottle holder, freezer bag holder, and power cord
- Inside and outside of the container including the fastening strap
- Laminated instruction sheet
3. For disinfection, use a disinfectant that does not contain phenol. According to the Robert Koch Institute, disinfectants can be used that have “limited virucidal”, “limited virucidal PLUS”, or “virucidal” activity. For example, Dismozon pur (Bode Chemie), Incidin Active (Ecolab), perform (Schülke & Mayr) or Kohrsolin extra (BODE Chemie) can be used. Other suitable disinfectants are listed under the link below.6) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using the product.
4. We recommend protecting the instructions for use by placing them in a plastic bag.
5. Only Ardo pumpsets may be used. These provide the closed pump system with the best possible protection. The proven “Vacuum Seal” technology creates a 100% hygiene barrier and ensures that no breast milk or contamination can enter the connecting tube or the pump itself.7)
6. It is essential to ensure protection of personnel according to the guidelines in the affected country.
How long does coronavirus survive on the surfaces of pumps and pumpsets?
The National Institute of Health states that COVID-19 survives for two to three days on plastic.8) This means that the same survival time applies for the Carum and Calypso breastpumps, which are made of high-quality plastic, as well as for all Ardo pumpsets.
6) List of disinfectants and disinfection procedures tested and approved by the Robert Koch Institute Date: October 31, 2017 (17th edition)
Date March 30, 2020: Recommendations made by the institutions mentioned may change. Please check the websites listed above should the current situation worsen.