Q and A

Question

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?

Answer

Hi

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.

52 comments

  1. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Joane,

    If you’re asking if it’s OK to switch to formula, the answer is yes. With formula there’s no risk. What’s important is that you don’t mix feed, so breast milk and formula. With regards to stopping the ARVs that you’ve been giving your baby, this should be possible. However, please discuss this with your childs doctor first.

  2. Joane

    I’m tswane my baby is weeks now,I’m breastfeeding her,since I’m going back to work I’m thinking of switching to formula
    I’m asking that will it not going to infect my baby,and will I continue to give her nevaripe

  3. Lisa Thorley

    Hi Zimkita,

    You need to decide which feeding method you want to use and stick to that one. With formula there’s no risk. However, if you live in a country where breastfeeding is encouraged, you may wish to use this method.

  4. Zimkita

    Hi.I am HIV positive and my viral load is undetectable.I have been mix feeding and was not made aware of the risks of this case and only found out yesterday.What should I do?

  5. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Thandiwe,

    First many congratulations on the news of your 3 month old baby. It’s great to hear about the negative result.

    However, here in the UK, women are recommended to use formula milk rather than breastfeed. This is even when the mother is on treatment and viral load is undetectable.

    In some other countries, breastfeeding is recommended if viral load is undetectable. This is related to other risks to the baby.

    Please talk to your doctor and nurse about the recommendations in your country.

    I hope you are getting support and information about HIV and that everything goes well with you and your new baby. If you live in South Africa you can contact the Treatment Action Campaign at this contact link. They can give local support.

  6. Thandiwe

    Hi I am HIV+ mom of 3month – negative baby and I have never breastfeed my baby as the nurses told me not to, they gave me mis-information about breastfeeding, can I start to breastfeed after 3month am I not late, I feel so guilty when my baby touch my breast and I always wanted to breastfeed.

  7. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Thembie,

    It’s great to hear that your baby daughter’s first test was negative.

    And yes, you can change to formula only. With formula only feeding there’s no risk.

  8. Thembie

    Hi I’m thembie I’m HIV positive my daughter is 10weeks can I stop to breast feed and give formula she’s first test was negative now I’m waiting for second results she is tested yesterday

  9. Roy Trevelion

    Hi Elen,

    Yes, you can change to formula only. With formula only feeding there’s no risk.

  10. Elen

    Hy am hiv positive i being breastfeeding my 3 weeks old baby so wanna switch to formula since I will be going to work soon, am afraid of mix ups with the babysitter

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