Can COVID-19 Affect a Newborn Baby?

Medically Reviewed on 6/10/2022

How common is coronavirus in babies and kids?

There is a low risk of transmitting COVID-19 from mother to child during pregnancy. In some cases, newborns might test positive for COVID-19 after birth. Symptoms for newborns who test positive may range from mild to severe illness.
It is unlikely that a mother will pass COVID-19 to her unborn child during pregnancy.

COVID-19 is uncommon in children. In the U.S., over 4 million children have tested positive for Coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. 

There is a low risk of transmitting COVID-19 from mother to child during pregnancy. In some cases, newborns might test positive for COVID-19 after birth. Symptoms for newborns who test positive may range from mild to severe illness.

If tests are available, your doctor might recommend performing tests on your baby to determine whether they have contracted the virus after birth. Also, healthy babies born to mothers who have tested positive for COVID-19 might contract the virus if their healthcare providers fail to take the necessary precautions.

Parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic

Parenting during this pandemic period can be stressful for many parents. It’s normal to worry about how the pandemic will affect your newborn's development. Caregivers and parents have to incorporate new guidelines to avoid transmitting COVID-19 to newborns.

New mothers in particular are feeling the effects of being isolated and having less support. Support groups can give mothers comfort and guidance on how to care for their newborns.

Symptoms of coronavirus in babies and kids

COVID-19 symptoms may be similar to those of other diseases such as flu or the common cold. Your doctor might perform some tests to determine whether your baby has COVID-19.

You may consider consulting with your doctor if you notice your newborn has the following symptoms:

COVID-19 and breastfeeding newborn babies

There's no proof that COVID-19 is transmittable through breast milk. Therefore, your doctor might recommend you continue breastfeeding your newborn baby even after testing positive for COVID-19. Breast milk is essential for your baby’s development.

You should consider following these safety precautions while breastfeeding:

  • When breastfeeding, consider wearing a mask or face cover.
  • Sanitize your hands before touching any items used by the baby.
  • When feeding your baby, avoid sneezing or coughing around them.
  • Properly disinfect equipment such as breast pumps used by the baby.
  • Before disinfecting, wash items such as feeding bottles in hot soapy water.
  • Meet people outside if possible; the virus spreads much more easily in confined spaces.
  • If you have visitors, ventilate the room you're in by opening doors and windows.
  • Avoid crowded spaces.
  • Try to limit the number of people you meet.

Treatment for COVID-19 in newborn babies and children

There isn’t enough data on the effects of COVID-19 in children to establish a set of pediatric-specific treatment recommendations. Therefore, it’s recommended that children follow the same treatment advice that has been issued for adults with COVID-19.

Prevention of COVID-19

Vaccines are proving to be effective in the fight against the effects of COVID-19 infections, including severe illness and death. It is safe to get vaccinated if you are:

  • Planning to get pregnant
  • Already pregnant
  • Pregnant and overweight or older
  • Pregnant and have a preexisting condition such as diabetes
  • Pregnant and serving as a frontline health worker
  • Living in a high-infection area

Breastfeeding mothers should continue breastfeeding their newborns even after vaccination. Available vaccines have proven to be safe for newborn babies.

Side effects of vaccination

After vaccination, it is common to get mild side effects. Different types of vaccines have varying side effects. These side effects also vary from person to person.

Common side effects include:

To manage the side effects caused by the vaccine, your doctor might recommend over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen, which is safe to take during pregnancy. You may also consider consulting with your doctor on the best available alternatives if you are worried about the effects of the vaccine. 


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Medically Reviewed on 6/10/2022
American Academy of Pediatrics: "Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Breastfeeding and Caring for Newborns if You Have COVID-19."

KidsHealth: "Coronavirus (COVID-19): Pregnancy FAQs."

NHS Scotland: "Coronavirus (COVID-19): Pregnancy and newborn babies."

National Institutes of Health: "Special Considerations in Children."

World Health Organization: "Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Vaccines."," Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Pregnancy and childbirth."