In most cases when a mother has an infectious disease, her baby has already been exposed to it, and the baby has already started receiving protective antibodies through the mother’s breast milk. There are very few cases in which a mother needs to stop breastfeeding because breast milk protects a baby against illness.
A contagious disease caused by a bacteria, fungus or virus. Some include; Chickenpox, Malaria, Influenza or Hepatitis.
In most cases, breastfeeding can continue. Usually, the baby has already been exposed to the illness. Weaning will decrease the baby’s protection from the disease, this is because antibodies are transferred to the baby via the breast milk.
It is always best to get a second opinion and to research your options before weaning due to an illness. Try to get advice from “breastfeeding friendly” doctors.
During the Infectious Period
during an infectious period of certain diseases such as pulmonary
tuberculosis, breastfeeding is not allowed but expressed breast milk
can be given to the baby by somebody other than the mother. This is possible if
the breast milk has been found to be uninfected.
In the case of
adenovirus, diphtheria, respiratory infection, Haemophilus influenza,
influenza, mumps, mycoplasma, parvovirus, pertussis, pneumonic plague,
rubella, pneumonia, or scarlet fever, the following precautions should
suffering from infections such as E-coli, rotavirus, hepatitis A,
multidrug-resistant enterococci or staphylococci, cutaneous diphtheria,
impetigo, herpes simplex virus infection, abscesses, and others, will
need to take contact precautions such as:
HIV can be transmitted through breast milk, but this does not mean that all HIV mothers should avoid breastfeeding.
HIV transmission risk factors
T-cell Lymphotrophic virus is a retrovirus that infects the T-cell or T-Lymphocyte. Most people infected will never experience any illness related to this virus.
Those that do get sick usually suffer from Leukemia joint inflammation or inflammation of the muscles, lungs, skin, and eyes.
HTLV is transmitted via sexual contact, blood, sharing of needles and from mother to baby in utero and through breastfeeding.
Most advise that breastfeeding should be avoided altogether. Although there is not enough research done on this.
Tracy Behr, CBC, CLD (CBI)
Reference: Course information through Childbirth International on the physiology of breastfeeding/illness in Mom.
End of illness in mom page