Why is breast best:

South Africa mothers are confused about breastfeeding. Many new moms have come to believe that it is better to feed their baby formula. One reason is the belief that formula is in some way better to breast milk. 

This is even more confusing if you are positive. Can breastfeeding pass HIV on to your baby?

What do you do?

The recommendations from doctors are clear. If you are HIV positive you must breastfeed your baby. This is the policy of clinics, the government, doctors as well as large international bodies like the World Health Organisation.

Studies have shown that HIV-infected mothers can breastfeed safely, even though breast milk contains HIV. But they have to breastfeed exclusively for at least six months. This means no other liquids or food are given. Mixed feeding during the first six months of infants’ lives increases their chances of contracting HIV from their mothers, as babies have a thin lining in their intestines that is damaged by mixed feeding, making it easier for HIV to enter their bodies.

If an HIV-infected mother breastfeeds exclusively for six months and her baby also takes her ARVs for the entire period of breastfeeding, the chance of a baby being infected with HIV is reduced from 15% to about 4%. This is the best chance you can give your baby.

Give your baby ONLY breast milk for the first 6 months (no water!) and his ARV syrup every day and take your ARVs. You’ll really reduce his chances of getting HIV.

Join MAMA and chat to other moms who have successfully had a negative baby. Join MAMA first by clicking "Register for MAMA" on the home page. You'll also receive free weekly info unique to your pregnancy stage or baby.



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