Autoimmune Diseases and Breastfeeding

What is an Autoimmune disease? 

Autoimmune diseases arise from an abnormal immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body (autoimmunity). Read the full definition here



(MS) Multiple Sclerosis and Breastfeeding

Benefits of breastfeeding with MS

  • Breastfeeding does not worsen the wellbeing of the mother.
  • Breastfeeding does not result in MS relapses after birth, pregnancy hormones do. Breastfeeding reduces the relapse rate by up to 50%. 
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of Baby getting the disease. 
  • Baby gets fewer ear infections, less respiratory infections, less constipation and allergies, if breastfed. 


Breastfeeding Tips for Moms with MS

  • Try to get as much help as possible, so that you can rest and focus on Baby.
  • A breastfeeding sling, breastfeeding stool, breastfeeding pillow and breastfeeding chair can help support your baby whilst breastfeeding. 
  • Mom should learn to lay down while breastfeeding, as this is a comfortable, relaxing position for most. 
  • If medications are used that cannot be taken while breastfeeding, a mother should pump and dump until she can stop taking the medication. A hospital grade, electric, double action pump is always best to use. 


Lupus and Breastfeeding

A mother who has Lupus, may struggle with low milk supply. 

Some tips for breastfeeding with lupus

Breastfeeding tips for Moms with Lupus

  • Try to get as much help as possible, so that you can rest and focus on your baby. 
  • breastfeeding slingbreastfeeding stoolbreastfeeding pillow and breastfeeding chair can help the mother support her baby whilst breastfeeding. 
  • Mom should learn to lay down while breastfeeding, as this is a comfortable, relaxing position for most.
  • If medications are used that cannot be taken while breastfeeding, Mom should pump and dump until she can discontinue taking the medication. A hospital grade, electric, double action pump is always best to use. 


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Breastfeeding can make the symptoms of RA worse, but this gets less severe after each pregnancy. 

Women who have a family history of RA can reduce their risk of developing it by 20%, if they breastfeed for 23 months and by 50% if they breastfeed longer. 

Some drugs may not be suitable while breastfeeding, the mother should research safer alternative drugs while breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding tips for Moms with RA

  • Try to get as much help as possible, so that you can rest and focus on your baby. 
  • breastfeeding slingbreastfeeding stoolbreastfeeding pillow and breastfeeding chair can help Mom support Baby while breastfeeding. 
  • Mom should learn to lay down while breastfeeding, as this is a comfortable, relaxing position for most.
  • If medications are used that cannot be taken while breastfeeding, a mother should pump and dump until she can stop taking the medication. A hospital grade, electric, double action pump is always best to use.


Top of autoimmune diseases and breastfeeding page



Tracy Behr, CBC, CLD (CBI)

Reference: Studies through Childbirth International on the physiology of breastfeeding / health problems in Mom / autoimmune diseases and breastfeeding.



Other pages on breastfeeding problems in connection with this page

- Endocrine and metabolic disorders and breastfeeding

- Illnesses in Mom and breastfeeding

- Illnesses in baby and breastfeeding

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