Most women with chronic illnesses or infectious diseases
diabetes usually can breastfeed but may need to
follow a special diet. They may be able to lower their insulin doses while
breastfeeding, because their blood glucose is being used for milk production.
cystic fibrosis or
phenylketonuria (PKU) must have their milk and their
infant's health monitored when breastfeeding.
In most cases,
breastfeeding is possible when the mother has
hepatitis A, chronic
hepatitis B or
hepatitis C, or
Other diseases, though, may make breast milk unsafe for the
baby. A woman should not breastfeed if she:
Is infected with the human immunodeficiency
virus (HIV), because she can pass the virus to her baby in her
Has sores on her breast caused
by infections (such as
chickenpox). She will need to wait until the infection has been resolved or
A woman also should not breastfeed if her baby has galactosemia.
A rare hormonal disorder called
Sheehan's syndrome makes a woman unable to produce
milk or to produce enough milk to feed her baby. Sheehan's syndrome results
from severe bleeding (hemorrhaging) immediately after giving birth.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology