I am HIV+. How long should I breastfeed for?

If you are HIV+, breastfeed your baby till she is one year old. It is essential that you take your own ARVs to keep both you and baby safe.

The best food for your baby is your breastmilk. Breastmilk carries a lot of goodness that will make your baby stronger.

For the first six months, give your baby ONLY breastmilk. No other milk or fluids should be given, as this reduces the good effects of breastmilk.

After six months, she will need to start on solids in addition to the breastmilk. Mashed fruits, vegetables and meat will be best for her tiny stomach. Continue breastfeeding and don't give her any other milk.

Once your baby is a year old, you can start weaning her from breastmilk.

Your baby will be given Nevirapine syrup from birth. This ARV syrup helps to prevent HIV infection in your baby. If you are on the new fixed dose combination (FDC) tablets your baby will stop taking the syrup at 6 weeks old.  If you are not on FDC your baby will continue with the syrup until a week after you wean him//her off breastmilk.

All HIV-exposed babies should be tested for HIV at 6 weeks of age and 6 weeks after you stop breastfeeding.

If you have any questions about what to feed your baby, talk to a health worker at the clinic, or call the National AIDS helpline at 0800 012 322.

If you're HIV+ you should be on FDC (a once-daily ARV pill), or other ARVs. Please remember to take the pills with you when you go to the clinic to give birth!

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