I have only had hep c for just shy of one year. I found out i had hep c when i found out i was pregnant. I have had people tell me that i can breast feed as long as i pump out the blood-mixed milk first. Can you safely breastfeed when you have a low viral load of hep c thats increasing slightly?
This is what I found at the Center For Disease Control website: http://cdc.gov/breastfeeding/disease/hepatitis.htm:
Hepatitis C Virus Infection
Is it safe for a mother infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) to breastfeed her infant?
Yes. There is no documented evidence that breastfeeding spreads HCV. Therefore, having HCV-infection is not a contraindication to breastfeed. HCV is transmitted by infected blood, not by human breast milk. There are no current data to suggest that HCV is transmitted by human breast milk.
Is it safe for the HCV-positive mother to breastfeed if her nipples are cracked and bleeding?
Data are insufficient to say yes or no. However, HCV is spread by infected blood. Therefore, if the HCV-positive mother's nipples and/or surrounding areola are cracked and bleeding, she should stop nursing temporarily. Instead, she should consider expressing and discarding her breast milk until her nipples are healed. Once her breasts are no longer cracked or bleeding, the HCV-positive mother may fully resume breastfeeding.
Reference: CDC. Recommendations for prevention and control of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and HCV-related chronic disease. MMWR, October 16, 1998, 47(RR-19):1–39.
For additional information on HCV infection and pregnancy, visit CDC's Viral Hepatitis C Frequently
To summarize for you: There is no documented evidence that breastfeeding spreads HCV. However, if you are experiencing cracking and bleeding, temporarily stop breastfeeding.
Personally, I breastfed two children whilst I unknowingly had HCV. Neither one of them have HCV now, and they are in their late teens. As for your question about viral load, I think viral load has no bearing on spreading the disease. If you have a small viral load you are still infectious to others.
TexSunflwr gave you the best info with the links, but I would like to add that I had four children and breastfed them all (even w/the occasional cracked nipple) and my children are grown and free of hep.c. Personal stories are not the evidence you need, but they can support the stated facts.
Thank you all for your help! I am a first time mother who unfortunately found out she had hep c at the same time she found out she was pregnant. I need all the support i can get because i dont want to do anything that would cause harm to my son. :)
I was told it was fine and breast fed three off my kids first not infected at 18 month test and other two now seven and four I have them being tested this month I have heavy suspicions about my youngest . My consultant said my milk was far more important to the child due to long term meds and reducing to my baby than the slight chance of Hcv. Now at the strong possibility of my youngest having it I now learn that there are traces in breast milk and that I should of discarded milk when had sore nipples but as a trusting mother of a fifty year serving consultant in special care kids and in the field who had been on television I put my trust for she was the one that told me I had it and now she was the only person I trusted to tell due to my concerns for my baby's. Now I learn that it wasn't enough to use a breast pump when sore I should of pumped and disposed. I think now that im facing my youngest being infected that even though it's a small risk it's to large a risk, although this could of happened at birth even though the precaution was took so that they were all c section so less chance of them being cut in the birth, but the youngest was traumatic. It's a really hard one but now that I'm not sitting just gave birth relying on health officials personal I thought professional opinion I have looked into what the facts are on breast feeding , breast is best but when it comes to the reality that my son might have this I feel any risk be it ten % or 20% at birth or even if it was 0.0001% now I personally feel that even that tiny chance is to big. But on the plus my daughter is fine and she fed off me for 6month. Youll have to make this a informed personal choice but I would Look up a little more literature and facts about it for I feel robbed of personal choice I know may be due to the need for my baby's to have my milk due to risk of withdrawal from prescribed meds that this doctor passion for me to breast feed out weighed that tiny risk! But that was not her professional opinion or facts it was her personal opinion. Look into it more for while I wait on treatment also for all three kids to be tested I feel if I knew what I know now I would never of given my child milk with cracked nipples even though it was threw breast pump it would have been binned. There is information on the net and the facts are there look up sites that have no passion for breast feeding and have a no interest just the facts. I will let you know how I get on . When are you due ? I never used the Internet a few years ago and if I was informed as I am now I feel any risk was to big ,but I was totally clouded with the fact that this professional was telling me the need for my milk was so important and that there was no risk unless the baby was cut. Back then I thought my period did not have been infected for the head tells you this is an egg and how could it have hep . Don't take my opinion or any ones you have to gather up the facts the truth and then see what's best for mother and baby. Just one thing if you do go ahead enjoy but as soon as the nipples crack or any cuts are present in baby's mouth dispose till healed. And also push for c section for if the baby is to be cut by thongs or suction or the birth canal and human interfension then the risk of the baby when cut and surrounded in you blood becomes far greater make everyone in the room aware how careful to be. That I wonder why I was so trusting of this consultant that delt with my three births. I never trusted or thought I had to tell any one now I would tell everyone at the birth for the sake of my kids, my first child was emergency c section. So it wasn't planned but after that I was aware that the risk was far far less in c section. Hope this helps
i was diagnosed 12 years ago in my fourth month of pregnancy. although i didnt breast feed i currently had my son tested and he is negative for HCV. i do agree with the ladies above.....if there is a slight chance...if it was me....i would choose not to take that chance.....best wishes
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