Breastfeeding or Pumping: Reasons you cannot and myths
Breast milk is best for babies for many reasons, and there are only a few reasons why mom’s own milk cannot be used.
I. The following are reasons that breast milk CANNOT be used:
a) Maternal HIV infection
b) Maternal Human T-Lymphocyte Virus infection (HTLV 1 or 2)
c) Certain medicines or therapies: chemotherapy, radioactive isotopes, radiation therapy, anti-metabolites, antiretroviral medications
d) Active herpetic lesions of both nipples
e) Active maternal use of drugs or abuse (including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine)
f) Abuse of prescription drugs or opioid use without prescription
g) Heavy use/abuse of benzodiazepines
h) Heavy maternal alcohol use
i) Infant diagnosis of classic galactosemia
II. In the following situations, mothers may not put their infant directly to the breast, but may pump and give their breast milk via bottle:
a) Active untreated tuberculosis (until mom has a documented negative sputum and has received 2 weeks of therapy)
b) Active varicella infection (chickenpox), unless there are varicella lesions on the nipple
c) Herpetic lesions on the breast, but not the nipple (see above)
d) Active maternal influenza infection (until mom has received 48 hours of anti-viral therapy and is 24 hours without a fever)
THC, a compound found in marijuana, can pass into breast milk and may permanently harm your baby’s developing brain. Because of these potential risks, UAMS advises that you do NOT use marijuana/cannabis, in any form, while providing breast milk to your baby. Please see separate handout for additional information.
n) Administration of contrast media (please see separate handout for additional information)
Most medications are safe during breastfeeding, but we encourage you to ask a lactation specialist about any medications or supplements you are taking (prescription or over the counter) to be sure there are no reasons to avoid using breast milk. Please consult a lactation specialist if you have questions, if you are unsure about the safety of the medications you are currently taking, or if you begin taking a new medication while breast feeding.