As per the expert advice breastfeeding is safe if the mother is infected with Dengue
Research suggests that this risk of transmission of Dengue virus from mother to the baby through breast milk is very low. But a rare case of vertical transmission of Dengue infection through breastfeeding has been reported in a document of Clinical Infectious Diseases Advance Access in 2013. On the contrary, benefits of breastfeeding to the baby during maternal infection are much higher than the chances of infection to the baby. Evidence shows that the Colostrum, the first breast milk and the breast milk has anti-dengue antibodies which protect the baby from the infection to this dengue virus.
Also according to WHO guidelines, it is important to breastfeed the baby during maternal dengue infection as the breast milk has lot of nutrients and antibodies which protects the baby, prevents dehydration and maintains emotional well-being in the baby. At the same time there is no specific treatment for dengue infection, only symptomatic care and safe category drugs are used for its treatment. If you are moderate to severely ill, then the doctor can put your baby on formula or top feed. But if you are comfortable then can also express breast milk and ask the relatives or attendants to feed it to your baby with the help of katori-spoon. This will help to maintain the milk supply to feed your baby till you get well and after that you can directly breastfeed your baby.
Tips if you are a breastfeeding mother and have dengue:
- Discuss your situation with a doctor. Consult them if it is safe or not.
- Try not to feed your baby if you have high fever and are not feeling physically well.
- Discuss the options of formula food with your doctor.
- Try and also discuss breast milk storage option and breast milk pumping.
- Please be open to use the breast milk of other mothers if the situation worsens.
Due to your breastfeeding the baby, your bundle of joy already has antibodies to fight the disease. So if you can, feel free to feed your baby.