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Breastfeeding with hepatitis C

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  • Breastfeeding with hepatitis C

    I am getting ready to have my 3rd baby. I recently found out that I have hepatitis C and I am really unsure about whether or not I should breastfeed. I bottle fed my first child because I had difficulty getting him to latch on. My second child I was able to breastfeed and it was an amazing experience. I loved the closeness and the bonding experience it created for us. I saw an infectious disease doctor at the beginning of my pregnancy this time around and he recommended that i do not breastfeed. My heart was broken. I don't want to do anything to harm my baby, but I also know how beneficial breastfeeding is. So as it gets closer to time for our new baby boy, I have been doing some research to see if any other moms have this issue. I have read that studies say it is okay to breastfeed as long as my nipples are not cracked and bleeding, but the infectious disease doctor I saw recommended I not breastfeed. I am unsure what to do..I hate to miss out on breastfeeding my baby, but I do not want to do anything to harm him. I guess I am looking for some input to help me make the right decision.

  • #2

    Hepatitis C infection is rated an L3-limited data-probably compatible. "A number of studies have yet to document horizontal transmission of HCV to infants from their mothers' breastmilk. The AAP recommends that HCV-infected women should be counseled that transmission of HCV by breastfeeding is theoretically possible but has not yet been documented. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not consider chronic hepatitis C infection in the mother as a contraindication to breastfeeding. The decision to breastfeed should be based largely on informed discussion between the mother and her health care provider. In view of the potential benefits of breastfeeding, a mother with HCV infection may continue to breastfeed. It may be prudent however, for mothers who are seropositive for HCV to abstain from breastfeeding if their nipples are cracked and bleeding." (Medications and Mothers' Milk database)

    Sandra Lovato R.N.
    InfantRisk Center