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Breastfeeding with Chronic Lyme

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  • Breastfeeding with Chronic Lyme

    I had lyme disease for many years before I knew I what it was. I am pregnant with my first and have been on antibiotics the entire pregnancy to prevent it from passing to the baby. Now I am considering breastfeeding, but my dr is discouraging it because it can pass through the breast milk. He said if I do breastfeed, I need to stay on the antibiotics. He is an expert on lyme disease but not a breastfeeding expert. Any research or information would be helpful in making this decision, thanks!

  • #2

    The Lyme disease is caused by infection with the spirochete, borrelia burgdorferi. This spirochete is transferred in-utero to the fetus. No life-threatening effects on the fetus have been found in cases where the mother receives appropriate antibiotic treatment for her Lyme disease. Antigenic material from the spirochete is found in human milk, although we do not know if it is infectious. Because the spirochete antigen has been found in breast milk, breastfeeding should be withheld until treatment with an appropriate antibiotic is instituted. Once treatment is initiated, breastfeeding may be resumed. According to the CDC there are no reports of Lyme disease transmission from breast milk. Since you have been on antibiotic therapy already it is probably safe to breastfeed. If you relapse we would recommend antibiotic therapy again and to wait 24 hours after restarting therapy to breastfeed again.

    Sandra Lovato R.N.
    InfantRisk Center