PL Department News
Breastfeeding with Influenza by Katie Lewis APL
The CDC currently recommends that parents who test positive for the influenza virus should be separated from their infants. They are encouraging parents to pump and have a healthy person bottle feed the baby until the breastfeeding parent has been fever free for 24 hours and has been on anti-viral medication for 48 hours. There may be some parents who wish to follow these recommendations, and as Leaders, we can support them with information about pumping and feeding expressed breast milk in a way that is compatible with breastfeeding. This article is one that Leaders can share with parents about paced bottle feeding:
However, many well-respected breastfeeding organizations disagree that babies should be separated from a breastfeeding parent with influenza. The following is copied from the InfantRisk app. As Leaders, we have permission from the author to copy it and share it with parents. Leaders may want to make a few copies of it to have at meetings. If parents become ill they may share the information with their pediatricians.
“Influenza is characterized by moderate to high degree fever, chills, rigors, malaise, myalgia and is associated with upper respiratory tract symptoms such as a cough, nasal congestion, and rhinitis. The protective benefits of breast milk in fighting respiratory illnesses in the infant has been well established. Therefore, infants with influenza illness are encouraged to breastfeed. Given its potential benefits and since no established data on the transfer of the influenza virus into breast milk exists, mothers with influenza are encouraged to continue breastfeeding. It should be noted that exposure of the infant to maternal illness is inevitable since the mother is contagious 24 hours prior to the onset of symptoms. Lactating women with influenza can be safely treated with either oseltamivir or zanamivir since both are compatible with breastfeeding. The infant should be closely monitored for any signs of respiratory illness and be treated accordingly. Influenza is spread by coughing and sneezing; therefore, covering the mouth and nose and good handwashing can prevent the spread of the virus. For more information, contact the InfantRisk Center at (806)352-2519.”
There is also a media release from LLLI dated January 20, 2018, LLLI Encourages Continuing to Nurse Your Baby Through the Flu. You should have received it in an email- a copy is available here https://goo.gl/NRCvfc. Finally, this article by Jack Newman is worth a read: https://ibconline.ca/maternal-illness1/