Is Breastfeeding Encouraged When You Have HFMD?


Hand Foot and Mouth Disease is wreaking havoc in Malaysia and the number of cases is going up by the minute. We are sure you have read this article regarding the 7 important things you must know about HFMD. We realised that there were more questions coming out. Some of those affected by HFMD were mothers of infants and toddlers. Few questions were frequently being asked, here are some answers to those. Read on to find out...

Can I continue to breastfeed my child even if I have HFMD?

The answer is a very resounding YES! You will not be passing the virus to your child, your breast milk doesn’t contain the virus. Instead it only has the antibodies for this disease and you will be more than happy to pass it on to your little one, right? If you are having soreness on the nipples, it is better to get advice from your doctor/gynaecologist for medicines to relieve the soreness and blisters on nipples. Yes, in some cases, for nursing mothers with HFMD, the blisters can spread way too far and affect the nursing activity.

My child is affected by HFMD, can I still continue to breastfeed him?

Yes, you will be doing your little one a whole lot of good by breastfeeding him or her. Most infants and toddlers are unable to consume any other food when affected by HFMD, latching on to your breast and sucking away will be comforting for the little one. So go ahead!

I have twin babies. One of them has HFMD while the other doesn’t. Can I still feed both of them?

Yes you surely can! Just ensure you clean up after feeding the babies, since HFMD can spread via saliva.

I have HFMD, can I eat anti-biotics and still breastfeed my children?

Please do note that HFMD is caused by a virus and thus anti-biotics are not prescribed. Medicines are given only to treat the symptoms, eg. Paracetamol for fever.

Is there a vaccine for HFMD?

Unfortunately, there is NO vaccine for HFMD yet.

What can you do to ease the symptoms for your child or yourself?

  • Drink plenty of fluids – dehydration is one major thing that can occur due to HFMD. So ensure that you or your little ones who are affected consume plenty of fluids. If breastfeeding, continue to feed as much as possible.

  • If you as an adult are affected by the disease, drink plenty of fluids, rest well and also maintain hygiene.

  • Keep temperature down by administering paracetamol, after consulting physician.

  • If the sores appear in the mouth, the child will not be ready or interested to consume solid food, so try to give liquids/fluids as much as possible.

  • Ask your doctor if it is necessary to treat the sores with gel or if a salt water gargle/mouthwash would do.

  • If you feel the sores/blisters are from HFMD and not thrush, consult with your doctor whether you can feed your child and also how you can ease the pain.

Administer medicines only after consultation with physician.

What else can you do?

There are ways to keep the disease and virus at bay, if you ensure you follow these recommendations.

  • The disease can spread easily so please ensure that proper hygiene is maintained in the home.

  • Try to avoid going outdoors especially to public places, (when sick). If your child goes to a school, please make sure to keep him or her at home until he or she has fully recovered. The disease spreads easily and you do not want a repeat episode of the disease from another infected child.

There is nothing to get paranoid about, just stay calm, the symptoms will disappear gradually.

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Hridya Anand

by Hridya Anand

A biochemist by education who could never put what she studied to good use, finally found GetDoc as a medium to do what she loved - bring information to people using a forum that is dedicated to all things medical. View all articles by Hridya Anand.


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