JAMA Pediatrics recently published a “Patient Page” by Dr. Megan Moreno that’s worth sharing. Entitled “Breastfeeding for Mothers With Ongoing Illnesses,” the first question featured is something we hardly get asked:
“Will I Pass My Illness to My Baby Through Breastfeeding?”
Sure, we get calls from moms worried that their baby might catch the cold or sore throat or gastroenteritis they themselves are fighting. Our telephone triage staff deftly tells them that good hand washing is the best prevention of all, while less frequent contact with a baby while the parent is sick is also prudent. But I think most mothers know that these (usually viral) illnesses don’t get passed through the breast milk to the baby. Likewise, chronic illness like asthma or diabetes or arthritis don’t get transferred through mom’s breast milk to the baby.
I don’t ever remember being asked the second question:
Does Breastfeeding Interfere With Vaccinations?
Breastfeeding does not interfere with your baby’s immune response to most routine immunizations. Breastfeeding may even protect against your baby having a fever after receiving vaccinations. If you need vaccinations after having a baby, the vaccine will often protect both you and your baby.
The last question is one we get asked all the time:
Can I Breastfeed if I Am Taking Medications?
The list of medications that are contraindicated during breastfeeding is pretty short:
For mothers who are breastfeeding, most any medication will go into the breast milk. However, most medications are not present in a way that is harmful to the baby. The most common medications of concern for mothers who are breastfeeding are pain medications, antidepressants, and drugs to treat substance or alcohol abuse or smoking cessation.
Dr. Moreno adds a very helpful link to the Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed) here.
View the entire JAMA Pediatrics Patient Page here.