[Recommendations for breastfeeding during maternal infections]

J Pediatr (Rio J). 2004 Nov;80(5 Suppl):S181-8. doi: 10.2223/1252.
[Article in Portuguese]


Objective: To make a literature review on breastfeeding and maternal infectious diseases in order to contribute with knowledge and information that can aid the pediatrician to decide upon allowing infected mothers to breastfeed their babies or not.

Sources of data: Lilacs and MEDLINE databases were searched for books, technical rules and articles on the issue of breastfeeding and infected mothers.

Summary of the findings: Infected lactating mothers can transmit pathogenic agents to their infants. Although breastfeeding protects the child it can also be a dangerous source of infection. Maternal diseases caused by bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites may sometimes be transmitted via human milk. The literature points out that mothers infected with HIV and T-lymphotropic human viruses (type I) should not breastfeed. With other diseases a careful approach should be taken, but in general breastfeeding is maintained.

Conclusion: The mother who is exposed to infectious diseases may transmit pathogenic agents through the human milk, attention should also be made to milk from milk banks. The healthcare provider must take his/her decision upon suspending breastfeeding -- or not, what can be distressful, once he/she has a fundamental role in promoting and stimulating breastfeeding.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Bacterial Infections / transmission
  • Breast Feeding* / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infections / transmission*
  • Mothers
  • Mycoses / prevention & control
  • Mycoses / transmission
  • Parasitic Diseases / prevention & control
  • Parasitic Diseases / transmission
  • Virus Diseases / prevention & control
  • Virus Diseases / transmission
  • Weaning