Bottle-feeding and free formula milk

All HIV positive mothers in the UK are strongly recommended not to breastfeed. This is regardless of their CD4, viral load or ART.

After doing all the right things during pregnancy and delivery, you will not want to risk your baby’s health now by breastfeeding.

Mother to child transmission of HIV is very low in the UK. Using formula feeding has contributed to these very low rates. It is as important as using ART, the choice of delivery and all the other care.

All HIV positive mothers in the UK should be supported to formula feed their babies. If you cannot afford the formula, bottles and sterilising equipment, these should be provided by your hospital so that you do not need to breastfeed. Schemes vary from clinic to clinic.

Your midwife should discuss whether you need this extra support as part of your discharge package when you leave the hospital with your baby.

Medical treatment and provision of formula milk will be in confidence. Please make sure that you take advantage of this if you need to.

Last updated: 1 December 2015.