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.

126 comments

  1. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Andile, congratulations on having a baby. Are you on medication? and do you know your own viral load?

    If you have been on ART for a while and are undetectable this greatly reduces risk of transmission – baby would not need another if you decide to switch to formula.

    It is safe to switch, but it is important that you will only use formula feed after this. Mixed feeding (breastmilk and formula feed) increases the risk of transmission. This is because the different feeds irritate baby’s tummy and makes transmission more likely.

    Switching to formula alone will carry no risk. Discuss this with your doctor so you can both decide when it is best to stop giving nevirapine.

  2. Andile

    Hi my son just turned 6 weeks , he was born negative but I have been giving him nevarapine for 6 weeks because I am breast feeding . Is it safe to start formula because I have to go back to work ? Does he need to get tested again since I have breadtfeed ?

  3. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Rony, ART is different for every person. This includes how much and what type of drug each person takes. As you are not breastfeeding there is a lower risk of transmission.

    It is also possible that even though this other person is taking two, the doses might be equal.

  4. Rony

    I started ART 12wks.My baby given nivarepine to take once daily as I’m not breastfeeding.My problem is someone told me that her baby is taking two dose daily. Why a doctor prescribed one dose daily for my baby.

  5. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Lungile, congratulations on having a baby. Your health practitioner has given you the right information. Your baby is safe. As your baby is being formula fed and has already had 6 weeks of NVP, there is no further risk of transmission.

  6. Lungile

    I started arvs at 34 weeks …my baby was on nvp for 6 weeks now from birth,today she got negative results from the test she took after birth and the health practitioner from clinic told me to stop giving her nvp because she is negative and formula feeding ….is she completely safe?

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