Breastfeeding and H1N1

  1. 0
    Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a press release regarding breastfeeding mothers with possible HN1 infection. There is confusion among the public, and even among practitioners, about the transfer of flu virus through breastmilk. This article could not be more clear: "influenza virus does not pass through breast milk." Many hospitals and practitioners are telling mothers they must be separated from their infants, and even to pump and dump their breastmilk, during a suspected flu infection. The AAP guidelines do NOT recommend separation of the infant and mother, and instead offer a list of precautions to minimize the chance of spreading infection to the infant via contact.

    Please see the following article for the specifics:
    Advice regarding breastfeeding for mothers with possible H1N1 infection

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  2. 3 Comments...

  3. 2
    Why not separate and pump the milk? Influenza does not pass through milk, but most certainly does pass through droplet in a 10 foot radius.
  4. 2
    When my 2nd daughter was born, my husband had contracted influenza (not H1N1--this was almost 6 years ago--it was obviously a different influenza strain but I don't remember which one) probably through work (he's an RN). It led to the death of several residents at his work. I then contracted it with my newborn at home, and my 1st daughter also got it. The only one that didn't get influenza was my newborn. I was told by the pediatrician that it was probably because she was breastfed and also 10 pounds at birth. (Of course, separation was not an option; I developed the flu when I arrived home.) Rah rah breastmilk!
    indigo girl and Marymoomoo like this.
  5. 2
    Quote from DuluthMike
    Why not separate and pump the milk? Influenza does not pass through milk, but most certainly does pass through droplet in a 10 foot radius.
    That is true. Thus the precautions listed.

    Why not separate and pump?

    1. Babies need to be with their mothers and vice versa. This is especially true in the early newborn stage.
    2. A sick mother isn't likely to have the energy or desire to pump milk because it's a time consuming and draining process. It would be easier for the mother to rest and breastfeed directly. Also, there would be less risk of incidental conatimination (assuming the mother is following precautions, including wearing a mask) with direct breastfeeding. Especially with an illness as serious as the flu can be, breastfeeding should continue so that the infant benefits from the immune factors that breastmilk provides.

    The bottom line is separation stresses both baby and mother and threatens the breastfeeding relationship (which can have far reaching consequences). Separation is unnecessary because reasonable precautions can be taken in order to prevent infection.


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