Consider expressing breast milk for your child to take even when you’re away from home
HIV/AIDS-With the fear of transmitting HIV to her child, Linda (not real name) decided not to breastfeed her child at all even after doctors had encouraged her to do so.
“I didn’t want to risk my child getting HIV because I was not sure I would follow the doctor’s instructions. Besides that, I am a working mother who is never home. The whole thing was complicated so I just decided not to breast feed him,” she says
“Today my son is two years. I didn’t breastfeed him but I have heard of HIV positive mothers who breast feed exclusively for six months. May be when I have another child, I will breast feed the baby,” she adds
However experts say that exclusive breastfeeding can be done by both mothers that are HIV positive and those that are negative.
But one wonders how;
According to Dr Sabrina Kitaka a senior pediatrician, mothers are usually given breast feeding instructions in hospitals before they return home with their children.
The only trick is to follow the doctor’s instructions and in case you meet challenges consult your doctors. This works for both you and your child.
However, she notes that the challenge mothers that are positive meet is to move with their babies around so that they be sure that the baby is not given any other foods.
She says, the solution to this is getting a care taker you trust that cannot give your child any other foods apart from breast milk.
After that consider expressing breast milk for your child to take even when you’re away from home.
After expressing, keep it in the freezer and give your child’s caretaker instructions on how to warm the milk for the baby to take.
She notes that exclusive feeding is recommended in HIV positive mothers who are on treatment and their viral load is low.
They are encouraged to breast feed exclusively for six months.
She notes that milk expression should be done after the mother has washed her hands with clean water and soap, and also ensure that the bottles are clean plus the breast pump.
“If the conditions at your work place favor milk expression, a mother on ARVS can freely express milk and keep it in the milk freezer bag while carrying it home for the baby,” she adds
Express and often as you can.