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The safety and wellbeing of our employees, volunteers, donors, and outpatient families is our priority. We will continue to update this page with our latest Covid-19 information, statements, and guidelines.

photo of woman breast feeding baby

Milk donors who receive the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson's  Covid-19 vaccines are still safe and permitted to donate their milk without a deferral period.

Covid-19 and Human Milk

The safety of the babies we serve is essential! We understand that you may have concerns about your infant’s safety, as well as, your ability to donate milk during the Covid-19 pandemic.


If you have symptoms of Covid-19, test positive, or have had a positive known exposure, please call Northwest Mothers Milk Bank to discuss any possible temporary deferral periods and medication use. In most cases, it is safe to donate milk that is expressed during your illness. Some medications used to treat your symptoms may have a short deferral period. We are happy to answer all your questions - 800-204-4444.

Because Northwest Mothers Milk bank provides an important and essential service for the families and infants of the Pacific Northwest, we continue to operate during the period of mandated Covid-19 restrictions. However, we have enhanced the procedures already in place to provide a greater level of protection for our milk recipients, donated milk, milk donors, volunteers, and staff.  

  • There is no evidence that Covid-19 is transmitted through human milk. Please visit the CDC website and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Statement on Breastfeeding and Coronavirus 2019.  However, antibodies to the coronavirus do transfer into breastmilk, which can provide protection to babies.

  • Coronaviruses that are closely related to the strain that causes Covid-19 are readily killed during Holder Pasteurization, which is the process used to pasteurize donor human milk.  

  • The CDC recommends that breastfeeding mothers who test positive for Covid-19 continue to breastfeed or pump milk for their child.  

  • Milk donors who receive the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna Covid-19 vaccines and boosters are safe and permitted to donate their milk without a deferral period.

Covid-19 Safety Precautions 

  • Precautions are always a part of what we do each day to ensure the safety of our milk, but they are especially important during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

  • Donors are thoroughly screened for travel, household health, and risk factors for Covid-19.  

  • Donor milk is pasteurized to kill any bacteria and viruses present in the milk. Research has shown that Covid-19 is killed during Holder pasteurization. 

  • After pasteurization, milk is tested by a third-party laboratory to ensure it is free of bacteria.  

  • NWMMB’s processing rooms are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized multiple times each day. Our team follows guidelines from the FDA and the Human Milk Banking Association of North America to assure optimal practice and safety.

Check out our video interview with Fox12 News regarding milk donation options during Covid-19. 

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