Can I pass a virus or illness onto my baby via breastmilk?

Jennifer Davidson, Lactation Specialist, answers whether or not it is possible for a mother to pass a virus or illness to her baby through breastmilk.
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Can I pass a virus or illness onto my baby via breastmilk?

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Mothers sometimes ask if their illness will pass to the baby via the milk. And one of the many wonderful things about breast milk is that they illness does not pass through the breast milk and in fact, what's wonderful is that the breast milk itself provides immunity to that very illness because the mother is making antibodies when she's ill against that very illness. And it goes directly into the milk to prevent that baby from getting anything. She just needs to wash her hands and maybe not kiss the baby on the lips.

Jennifer Davidson, Lactation Specialist, answers whether or not it is possible for a mother to pass a virus or illness to her baby through breastmilk.

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Jennifer Davidson, RN, BSC, IBCLC

RN & Lactation Consultant

Jennifer Davidson, RN, BSN, IBCLC, earned her AA degree in early childhood education and taught preschool for two years. She returned to college and received a bachelor's degree in Nursing. After completing school, she worked as a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for ten years. During this time she got married and gave birth to a beautiful son who changed her life. Jennifer realized she did not want to return to the same long hours that would take her away from her family. When Jennifer was offered a part-time job as an RN at the progressive pediatric office of Dr. Jay Gordon and Linda Nussbaum in Santa Monica, she accepted it and has been there for 18 years.

Somewhere after birthing and nursing another wonderful son, Jennifer discovered a new passion and began helping other mothers with breastfeeding problems. She completed the extensive training to become a lactation consultant and for the last eight years has been the breastfeeding specialist in the pediatric office. Jennifer has the wonderful opportunity of following women from their pregnancy throughout their breastfeeding journey. She is able to intimately know the women and their stories. Most important, Jennifer learns with the women how best to draw out their own knowledge in creating a successful breastfeeding experience. Repeatedly she has found that helping a woman trust her own instincts builds the most confidence and leads to the most success.

More Parenting Videos from Jennifer Davidson, RN, BSC, IBCLC >
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