There are many benefits to breastfeeding for both you and your baby. Breast milk has important nutrients that will help your baby grow and help prevent infection. Babies who are breastfed are generally more healthy and don’t have to visit the doctor as often as babies who are fed formula.
Breastfeeding helps you and your baby bond! Breastfeeding may help your baby cope with withdrawal symptoms. Remember, breastfeeding may not be easy at first. It takes time and (lots of) patience! The first 2 weeks is often the most difficult. Talk to your prenatal provider or the breastfeeding specialist (sometimes called a lactation consultant) at the hospital for tips or other questions.
If you’ve decided to breastfeed, do not stop suddenly. Your baby is used to having even a small amount of methadone and may experience withdrawals if they are not weaned off. When you wean your baby off breastfeeding and start solid foods or formula, they are also weaned off methadone.
How do know if I can breastfeed?
Hepatitis C Positive: You can breastfeed.
The Hep C virus is not found in breast milk. However, if your nipples become cracked or chapped, there is a risk of transmission though your blood. Talk to your prenatal provider about this issue.
HIV Positive: It’s not recommended you breastfeed.
HIV is found in breast milk, so you may put your baby at risk if you breastfeed. If you have not been recently tested for HIV, consider getting tested. Ask your prenatal provider or counselor about how to get tested.
Illegal Drug Use: It’s not recommended you breastfeed.
Over the Counter Drugs, Vitamins, etc: Ask your prenatal provider first.
Some medications, herbs, teas, and vitamin supplements are not safe to use if you want to breastfeed, so make sure you tell your prenatal provider about anything you are taking.
A History of Physical or Sexual Abuse: It's your choice.
Some women who have been sexually abused may have a difficult time with the idea of breastfeeding and choose not to breastfeed.
Editor: Deborah Shrira,CEO Revised: November 2008