COVID-19: Infants should not be separated from infected mothers

Separation of COVID-19 sick mothers and infants makes sense?

Whether the nursing mothers should be separated from the infants if there is an infection with the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is assessed very differently among experts. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control an Prevention (CDC) has advocated considering a temporary separation of mother and child. However, other experts vehemently disagree.

The President of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine, Dr. Alison Stuebe of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine speaks out against the separation of COVID-19 infected mothers and their children. While this can minimize the risk of transmission of the virus from mother to infant during the hospital stay, it has potentially negative consequences for both the mother and the infant, emphasizes Dr. Stuebe in the magazine "Breastfeeding Medicine".

No evidence of the benefits of separation

Although several public health organizations have specifically recommended keeping mothers and babies together, the CDC recommends considering a temporary separation of mother and child until the mother is no longer contagious, criticizes Dr. Stuebe. The professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine emphasizes that there is no evidence that early separation of infants and mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 protects child health.

Possible negative consequences

In return, however, the separation of mother and child carries some risks, since breastfeeding is interrupted and skin-to-skin contact is absent in the critical hours and days after birth, reports Dr. For example, infants who have no skin-to-skin contact with their mothers tend to have higher heart and respiratory rates and a lower glucose level.

Risks for mother and child

According to Dr. Also try the mother, which could make it more difficult for her to ward off the virus infection. In addition, the separation affects the supply of breast milk to the infant, which is important for the development of the immune system. Breastfeeding is disrupted, placing the infant at increased risk of serious respiratory infections, including pneumonia and COVID-19.

Dr. Arthur I. Eidelman, editor-in-chief of Breastfeeding Medicine magazine, emphasizes that "there is no need or indication to categorically separate infants from suspected or positive mothers of COVID-19, except in situations where the mother's state of health affects them Care of the child is excluded. "Furthermore," the supply of breast milk, either by breastfeeding or by feeding with pumped milk, is OK and desired! "(Fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • Alison Stuebe: Should Infants Be Separated from Mothers with COVID-19? First, Do No Harm; in: Breastfeeding Medicine (published April 9th, 2020),
  • Breastfeeding Medicine: Should Infants Be Separated From COVID-19-Positive Mothers? (published April 9th, 2020),

Video: COVID-19-infected parents and newborn baby reunite after weeks apart (January 2022).