Breastfeeding HIV worries?

You can never wipe away the fear that your baby could get infected as an HIV-positive mother who is breastfeeding. But the true medical fact is that if you are taking ARVs and your baby has been tested and given an oral dose of Nevarapine,  exclusive breastfeeding is the best chance your baby has for health. Here are some tips to help you cope. 

One day at a time:  Focus on the day at hand instead of the six months ahead. This will give you confidence to face the future. This will re-assure the mother that she can sustain breastfeeding. 

Create a milk bank: Expressing milk is a good way to let you feed the baby when you need to go back to work. You need to find a way to pre-pump and freeze or vacuum seal your milk to be given to the baby periodically. Vacuum-sealed breast milk (this means taking out all the air) can stay safe at room temperature for eight hours, in a fridge for 48 hours and in a freezer for up to six months.

Let the scientific facts motivate you!: Breastfeeding provides unequalled nutrition for the baby. Breast milk is the best food for the baby in its first six months of life. The mother’s milk has all of the enzymes, hormones, growth factors a developing baby needs to grow. In fact, the mother’s immunity to disease is passed to the baby through breast milk. Breastfed babies are healthier and require less healthcare costs. A healthy baby means enough time channeled to productive ventures that benefit the family.

Get support : Mother-to-mother chats like you have on MAMA are at the heart of successful breastfeeding. The more you share with friends or at your clinic the easier it becomes. Share you concerns about HIV transmission with the nurse.

 Get the correct position: It is important to attach the baby correctly making sure that the black part around the nipple is in its mouth. Proper attachment ensures that you are breastfeeding as opposed to “nipple” feeding.This prevents sore nipples and helps the baby to get enough milk. Similarly, the mother needs to be in a comfortable position, with a straight back so she is not under strain. Breastfeeding is not meant to cause pain to any party. 

If your baby tested HIV+ at the 6-week test, make sure you get him to a clinic for treatment. If treated early, he will do very well.  If baby is on ARV syrup (nevirapine), he must go to the clinic each month to be checked, and get more syrup. Remember your Road to Health Card!

Tell us MAMAs are you worried about breastfeeding?



More Articles
Share This Site