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.

Vertical 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.

Women not breastfeeding their baby should be offered the drug cabergoline to stop lactation.

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.

As access to formula milk in the UK is patchy the National AIDS Trust has published a policy briefing:

Access to formula milk for mothers living with HIV in the UK

Last updated: 1 April 2019.