May 9, 2009

Breastfeeding and Swine Flue

The CDC has issued guidelines for pregnant/breastfeeding mothers regarding swine flu. I have cut and pasted the breastfeeding portion below.

Most of the document is regarding pregnant women. To read the full document, please visit

Breastfeeding considerations

Infants who are not breastfeeding are particularly vulnerable to infection and hospitalization for severe respiratory illness. Women who deliver should be encouraged to initiate breastfeeding early and feed frequently. Ideally, babies should receive most of their nutrition from breast milk. Eliminate unnecessary formula supplementation, so the infant can receive as much maternal antibodies as possible.

If a woman is ill, she should continue breastfeeding and increase feeding frequency. If maternal illness prevents safe feeding at the breast, but she can still pump, encourage her to do so. The risk for swine influenza transmission through breast milk is unknown. However, reports of viremia with seasonal influenza infection are rare.

Expressed milk should be used for infants too ill to feed at the breast. In certain situations, infants may be able to use donor human milk from a HMBANA-certified milk bank External Web Site Policy.

Antiviral medication treatment or prophylaxis is not a contraindication for breastfeeding.

Instruct parent and caretakers on how to protect their infant from the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like H1N1 (swine flu):

* Wash adults’ and infants’ hands frequently with soap and water, especially after infants place their hands in their mouths.
* Keep infants and mothers as close together as possible and encourage early and frequent skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their infants.
* Limit sharing of toys and other items that have been in infants' mouths. Wash thoroughly with soap and water any items that have been in infants' mouths.
* Keep pacifiers (including the pacifier ring/handle) and other items out of adults' or other infants' mouths prior to giving to the infant.
* Practice cough and sneeze etiquette.

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