Q. I’ve recently had a baby and I’ve tested positive for COVID-19. Can I still breastfeed?

Information on COVID-19 is rapidly changing but current evidence suggests that it is safe to breastfeed and continue to offer breastmilk. In fact, breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for infants and provides protection against many illnesses.

If you have confirmed COVID-19 or have symptoms, you should take all possible precautions to avoid spreading the virus to your baby, including washing your hands before touching your baby, sterilising any breast pump or bottles and washing your hands after changing their nappy.

If available, wear a face mask while feeding your baby at the breast. If you are too unwell to breastfeed you may still be able to express milk for your baby, just remember to sterilise pump equipment and bottles according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Due to the restrictions on social contact, you may also be feeling isolated so it’s important to stay connected with your baby as your body adapts, it’s also important to make sure you know where you can get help and support if you need it.

You may notice your breasts becoming warmer and tingly as they begin filling with milk and your baby may be more unsettled and feed in unpredictable patterns. Take each feed, one at a time, spending time with your baby as you both learn from each other.

Breastfeeding is a skill that takes time to get the hang of. Lots of mums wonder if their baby's feeding well and getting enough - especially in the first few days. But once you've mastered it, you'll probably find it's the easiest and most satisfying way to feed your baby.

Midwives, health visitors and locally trained volunteer mothers (peer supporters) are there to help you get breastfeeding off to a good start. They can give you lots of information and support just when you need it.

If you need to speak to your midwife or health visitor in between appointments, you should find their contact details in your baby’s red book. Ask them to show you the page when you first get it.

For helpful information and advice on breastfeeding visit: https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/breastfeeding/

Q. I have heard about the new NHS ‘test and trace’ system – should I register to take part in it?

You don’t have to register for the new system, the ‘test and trace’ contact centre will get in touch with you if you have had a test for Covid-19 and that test is positive.

The aim of the service is make sure that people who develop symptoms of Covid-19 can quickly be tested to find out if they have the virus. NHS and social care staff and care home residents can also be tested if they have no symptoms.

Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus. By speaking to people about their recent contacts, it helps trace other people who may have been exposed to the virus and ask them to self-isolate too. It’s all about stopping the spread of the virus.

The NHS is introducing this service to help return life more to normal, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care. The service will allow us to trace the spread of the virus, isolate new infections and play a vital role in giving us early warning if the virus is increasing again, locally or nationally.

The contact centre will help people who have tested positive identify anyone they have been close to. ‘Contact’ means a person who has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus and who may or may not live with them.

‘Self-isolation if you have symptoms’ means you and all household members must remain at home. Do not go outside your home for any reason i.e. to shop, work, school, or public areas, and do not use public transport or taxis. The guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection page has more information on self-isolation.

If you have symptoms of Covid-19 – a new cough, high temperature or loss of sense of taste or smell – medical advice is clear: you must self-isolate for at least 7 days. Anyone else in your household must self-isolate for 14 days from when you started having symptoms.

You should order a test immediately at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 if you have no internet access. If your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 7-day self-isolation.

Anyone in your household must also complete self-isolation for 14 days from when you started having symptoms. This is because anyone living with you may still be carrying the virus, even if they are not showing symptoms.

There are new tests – called ‘antibody’ tests, which can tell if you’ve previously had the Covid-19 virus, but currently in-patients and those about to have an operation are being prioritised, alongside NHS staff.