As mentioned, in developing countries it is not recommended to breastfeed if mom has AIDS. There are some other illnesses, viruses that can cause issues. Herpes can be permitted unless there are lesions on the breast. If mom has Rubella, or Hepatitis C or B, and Cytomegalovirus, breastfeeding is permitted. Breastfeeding can be permitted if the mom has chickenpox unless it develops a few days before delivery. The baby does have passive immunity from mom’s illnesses, for the first six months. It is very rare that a mom needs to be separated from her infant and should be avoided if at all possible.
The first days are very important in establishing the bond and relationship before the mom and her infant and the more they are together, the better the outcome for both. Think of animals in the wild, under no circumstances are they separated from their mothers, and if so, this is almost a guaranteed death threat. Diabetic mothers are difficult to manage in pregnancy and it is very important they breastfeed. Any drop in blood sugar levels can affect the milk supply. Breastfeeding should begin as soon as possible after birth. The colostrum will stabilize the blood sugar levels in the baby. Mom’s who have diabetes are more susceptible to mastitis. Mom will need extra calories while lactating. When she weans, she must do so slowly to avoid dramatic sugar level changes. A mom with thyroid problems has different difficulties with breastfeeding.
The thyroid gland controls metabolism and normal growth of the central nervous system. Moms often have trouble with overactive or underactive thyroid during pregnancy Hypothyroidism can result in a low milk supply. Mom may have dry skin, be cold intolerant, and be depressed and fatigued. Mom can be given thyroid medication which will completely improve the situation and milk supply. Excess thyroid hormones display as loss of weight, rapid pulse, nervousness, and heart palpitations. It doesn’t usually affect the milk supply. Again medication will improve the situation. If mom has a severe hemorrhage or blood loss, the drop in her blood pressure can do damage to the pituitary gland which is the master gland in lactation. She may present with weight gain, loss of hair, intolerance to cold. It can delay milk production. Pituitary tumors can result in excess milk.
Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary disorder that causes chronic lung issues and problems with the pancreas and its function. In the past, most women who suffered this illness did not live long enough to bear children. Now that they do, they can still breastfeed, but the mother’s nutritional status must be watched as she will need extra calories when ill. A mom who has multiple sclerosis which affects her muscles will need extra support while breastfeeding as exhaustion is a big factor for her to deal with. However it is important that she breastfeeds so that she can pass on some protection to her infant against this terrible illness.