Back to Question & Answers

Are there any infections that can pass from a nipple to a baby in breastfeeding?

Some sexually transmitted infections affect breastfeeding.  Talk to your doctor or nurse about reducing the risk of passing the STI to your baby while breastfeeding:

If you have HIVbreastfeeding is not recommended. In Manitoba, Nine Circles Community Health Centre can give you information about a provincial program available to HIV positive parents to access free formula for one year in order to avoid transmission through breast milk.

Herpes or syphilis can pass from skin to skin contact. You can breastfeed as long as your baby or pumping equipment does not touch a sore. Syphilis or herpes can affect your breast, including your nipple and areola. If you have sores on your breast, you can pump or hand-express your milk until the sores heal. If parts of your breast pump also touch the sore while pumping, you should throw the milk away.

For trichomoniasis, you can take an antibiotic if you are breastfeeding. You may need to wait 12 to 24 hours after taking the medicine to breastfeed.

If you have chlamydia, gonorrhea, or HPV, you can breastfeed your baby without worrying about transmission.