Is there any time when I should not breastfeed?

A few viruses can pass through breast milk. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is one of them. If you are HIV positive, you should not breastfeed. If you have HIV and want to breastfeed, you can get breast milk for your baby from a milk bank.

Sometimes babies can be born with a condition called galactosemia, in which they can’t tolerate breast milk. This is ecause their bodies can’t break down the sugar galactose. Babies with classic galactosemia may have liver problems, malnutrition, or mental retardation. Since both human and animal milk contain the sugar lactose that splits into galactose and glucose, babies with classic galactosemia must be fed a special diet that is free of lactose and galactose.

Mothers who have active, untreated TB (tuberculosis) or who are receiving any type of chemotherapy drugs should not breastfeed.

If you are breastfeeding, you should not take illegal drugs. Some drugs, such as cocaine and PCP, can affect your baby and cause serious side effects. Other drugs, such as heroin and marijuana can cause irritability, poor sleeping patterns, tremors, and omiting. Babies can become addicted to these drugs.  If you smoke tobacco, it is best for you and your baby if you try to quit as soon as possible. If you can’t quit, it is still better to breastfeed. You also should avoid drinking alcohol. An occasional drink is ok, but avoid breastfeeding for two hours after the drink.

Sometimes a baby may have a reaction to something you eat, but this doesn’t mean your baby is allergic to your milk. Usually, if you have eaten a food throughout pregnancy, your baby has already become used to the flavor of this food. If you stop eating whatever is bothering your baby, the problem usually goes away on its own.

Some women think that when they are sick, they should not breastfeed. But, most common illnesses, such as colds, flu, or diarrhea, can’t be passed through breast milk. In fact, if you are sick, your breast milk will have antibodies in it. These antibodies will help protect your baby from getting the same sickness.