Q and A

Question

I’ve HIV and just had a baby, should I use formula?

hi. I’m hiv positive and have given birth 5days ago. I’m currently on tribuss and undetectable. My family is too judgemental so i have not told anyone about my status. I’m feeding my baby formula but the problem is she has not pooped for 2days now and my family keeps on saying its because of formula i should breastfeed. I want to know if it is still safe for me to breastfeed even if i started by giving formula.

Answer

Congratulations on the birth of your child.

I appreciate that it can be hard to tell people about your status. You may also feel under more pressure because of having a baby. Because you are on treatment, how you choose to feed your child is your decision. The following though may help:

https://i-base.info/qa/6656

With regards to your baby pooing, this is normal in newborns. If however, you are concerned please talk to a doctor.

Good luck.

108 comments

  1. Josh Peasegood

    Hi, congratulations on your new baby. Testing negative is excellent news. ave you discussed this with your doctor? WHO guidelines do recommend exclusively breastfeeding. However if there is not enough milk and he is crying you may need to speak to a doctor about switching. He will likely need to remain on formula from then. Your baby being on treatment is great and will reduce the risk of transmission. Switching will require speaking to a doctor as it will change the amount of time he is expected to be on treatment for.

  2. Anonymous

    Hi! I’m hiv positive mom and on treatment, I gave birth to a healthy boy, he is now 3weeks old and tested negative, I choose to breastfeed but now I struggle with breastfeeding as my milk is not enough and he cry a lot, is it safe to switch to formula as I can’t mixtfeed ( do both) he is on treatment from birth can I give him formula and continue giving him the treatment they gave after birth? Please advise

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Precious,

    Babies born to HIV positive mothers need to be either breastfeed or formula feed, mix feeding isn’t recommended because there is an increased risk of transmission.

  4. Precious

    Hy I’m HIV positive and I’m breastfeeding my child but now was thinking of mixing it with formula is there any problem if I do like that??

  5. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Anonymous,

    It’s great to hear that your childs first test was negative, this is a good sign. But yes there is a need to do more tests as the result could change. Please see here:

    https://i-base.info/guides/pregnancy/hiv-negative

  6. Anonymous

    If the baby tested hiv negative at birth with PCR test, and the baby is on formula then why so many test e.g at birth, 10weeks,18months?. Does it mean there are still chances of infection?

  7. Simon Collins

    Hi Mercy, congratulations on your new baby – this must be a very special time. Please talk to your doctor or clinic about this question. Guidelines are to use one method of feeding – either breast or formula – but not to mix. Guidelines are also different depending on which country you are living in. This link has more info:
    https://i-base.info/guides/pregnancy/feeding-your-baby

  8. Mercy

    Hi,I am HIV positive just given birth a month ago. I am currently breastfeeding my baby. Is it okay to formula feed and breastfeed at the same time?

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