Can Women with Chicken Pox Breastfeed?

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    Mothers suffering from chickenpox can breastfeed normally. Any blisters on the breast should be covered to cancel the risk of transmission from virus present in those blisters. If the symptoms of chickenpox appear in the mother less than 5 days before or 2 days after delivering the child, the baby should be seen urgently by the concerned doctors and should be given VZ immunoglobulin and IV acyclovir. The chicken pox virus has not been found in breast milk of women with a chicken pox infection. However moms with vesicles on the areola or nipple, should not breastfeed the babies. The breast milk should only be given to the baby only if there are no active lesions on the breast or area around. Breast milk can contain antibodies that can protect the baby from getting the virus. Because chicken pox is contagious, consult your child’s pediatrician right away if you get the chicken pox. Try preventing your baby from coming into direct contact with your rash as it will lower the chances of your baby getting that infection.

    If a mother gets chickenpox for the first time while breastfeeding, she can continue to breastfeed because her baby has already been exposed to the infection by then before the blisters came out, and immune factors in breast milk can help the baby’s recovery through it.

    Note: if a mother develops chickenpox for the first time a few days before or after delivering the baby, this will be dangerous for her baby and she should consult the doctor soon. Breastfeeding can be continued in this case, but the baby may require treatment with antibodies against that virus (varicella zoster immune globulin) and the mother has to take special hygiene precautions, and will have to avoid her baby coming in contact with any skin lesions.

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