While we're on this theme, I thought I'd share the fairly new American Academy of Pediatrics advice on breastfeeding and H1N1. It states in part:
While the advantages of breastfeeding are well-known, this close interaction of mother and newborn also can facilitate transmission of influenza virus. The benefits and the risks of close contact must be considered carefully.
To protect the infant from possible serious infection while allowing essential and encouraged mother-infant bonding to occur, a compromise is required until more data are available. The following precautions are suggested to minimize the risk of infection to the infant, particularly while still in the hospital and while the mother is symptomatic with fever and coryza:
- Pay careful attention to handwashing prior to any contact.
- Prior to breastfeeding, wash the breast with mild soap and water; rinse well
- The mother should wear a surgical mask to prevent nasal secretions and the spontaneous cough or sneeze from inoculating the infant.
- Use clean blankets and burp cloths for each contact.
- Monitor the maternal-infant interaction on perinatal floors for compliance with the above precautions
These precautions are designed to minimize the risk of transmission until mother’s immune response to H1N1 influenza is established, and increased, specific immune protection may be provided by breast milk. Note that influenza virus does not pass through breast milk.
The advice also notes that "separation may create more long-term problems in breastfeeding success and mother-infant bonding than any potential benefit achieved from avoiding infection in the newborn infant."
Of course, this post is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from you health care provider.