Q and A


Can I change from breastfeeding my baby to formula milk?

Hi, I am HIV + and I take my ART very well. My baby tested negative on the first day of birth on the second day the results were insufficient but on the 3rd day the results were negative again …..I am breast feeding and giving my baby nevarapine but I am planning on stopping  breast feeding after a month and formula feed because I will not be always around to take care of baby. I am avoiding mix feeding, is this wise?



Thanks for your question and congratulations on your new baby. It sound like you are doing an amazing job of looking after your baby and the test results are really good.

Because guidelines for breastfeeding are linked to where you live, including the country and if this is in the city or countryside, please ask your doctor or nurse these questions.

i-Base is in the UK and guidelines in SA are sometimes different.

You are right that if it us important to exclusively use either breastfeeding only or formula milk only. If your circumstance make it important to change this is also usually okay, but your clinic can give you the best information about how and when to do this.


  1. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Sino, congratulations on having a baby. I am sorry to hear that you have been finding it challenging these first few weeks.

    Baby is still too young for gripe water. Before a month baby should not be given any medication that has ben recommended by the doctor.

    Switching to formula milk is safe. You can do this before 2 weeks. Mixed feeding is risky when switching from formula milk to breast milk. Switching to formula does not risk HIV transmission.

  2. Sino

    Hi, I am a HIV positive mother, my viral load is suppressed.. I am stressed, this breast feeding thing has lot of rules that is hard to follow especially if your family or mom know nothing about you status, from the birth of my baby boy I wanted to formula feed but at the hospital they did not allow me to, so I had to breastfeed. My baby is one week and 3days old, my mom and Isaw that the baby is not feeding enough with the breast and I do not produce enough milk, I try mybest to eat all the food and liquids that will help me produce milk but there’s nothing,same goes with my 5 year old I stopped breast feeding him before he was one month, nit because I wanted to but because I couldn’t produce anymore milk so this is happening again.. My worry is that my mom know nothing about my status and I’m not ready at all to tell her about it, so she wanted to buy formula milk so that I can mix feed but I stopped her because I wanted to try and let my baby breast feed up until he’s atleast two weeks and I know that mix feed is not allowed so I convinced her, and now she wanted my ba to have atleast water in the morning and I know that is not allowed, I tried to let her forget about water, she then bought babies medication gripewater and my worry is that the medication must be mixed with water and I do not even know if the baby is allowed to use any other medication especially the one that has to be mixed with water, I am stressing, she feels as if I’m trying to push her away from helping me with the baby not knowing the main reason why I’m avoiding all these things.. So I’m thinking of starting formula milk tomorrow because of the breast milk not enough I can not wait for him to turn 2 weeks before I change him..

  3. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Sammy, Novatrim is an antibiotic used to prevent any at risk infections while breastfeeding. After confirming baby is not HIV positive (this is usually a few weeks after stopping breastfeeding) they will not need to be on Novatrim any more.

  4. Sammy

    Hi,I’m breastfeeding and I wanna change to formula to my two months old exposed child.must I still give my baby novatrim even when I change to formula?

  5. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Zandile, yes. Congratulations on your new baby. You will be able continue giving your baby Nevirapine. Have you mentioned this to your doctor? This may change the length of time they are given Nevirapine for.

  6. Zandile

    Hi If I change from breastfeeding to formula can I continue giving the baby neviropine

  7. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Pearl,

    Feeding guidelines vary depending on where it is that a person lives. In the UK where i-base are based, breastfeeding isn’t recommended.
    If your child is crying a lot, it might be worth taking them to see a doctor.
    Babies born to positive mothers need to be either formula fed or breastfed, they can’t be given both. Your baby is also too young for solid foods.

  8. Pearl

    Hi in hiv+ and I have been exclusively breastfeeding my baby. Shes almost 3months and she cries a lot as if the breast milk is not making her full anymore, is it safe to give her formula milk/porridge and continue breastfeed?

  9. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Xolly,

    As you’ll see from the above post, it’s OK to switch. With formula there’s no risk.

  10. Xolly

    Hi I’m HIv+ my baby is 4 days old, and my baby is taking nevaripine. I’m breastfeeding but wanna change to formula


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