Is Breastfeeding in Hepatitis B Virus Positive Mothers  are safe for the baby? I answered this question with details. The bond between a mother and her baby is an extraordinary connection, strengthened through the intimate act of breastfeeding. But when a mother discovers she is Hepatitis B Virus positive, concerns arise about the safety of breastfeeding for her precious newborn baby. In this article, I will explore whether a Hepatitis B positive mother can breastfeed her baby or not?. My aim is to provide the guidance and knowledge necessary to make an informed decision about your precious newborn baby future life.

Unraveling Hepatitis:

Hepatitis in the inflammation of liver, mostly caused by a group of viral infections that affect the liver, carries various types, including Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. To navigate this intricate journey, it is vital to gain a fundamental knowledge about understanding these viruses and their modes of transmission.

 Hepatitis B and Breastfeeding to newborn baby;

When it comes to Hepatitis B, the risk of transmission to your baby lies primarily during childbirth rather than breastfeeding. Let us explore the key facets:

Mother-to-child transmission: The critical focus lies in preventing transmission during the delivery process.

The gentle power of breastfeeding: With the implementation of preventive measures, breastfeeding is generally considered safe and can become a precious pathway to nourish and forge an unbreakable bond with your newborn.

– An added shield of protection: Prior to commencing breastfeeding, the administration of the Hepatitis B vaccine and Hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) to your baby significantly reduces the risk of transmission.

The gift of breastfeeding: Your breast milk becomes a precious elixir, delivering essential nutrients and antibodies that fortify your baby’s health and development.

 

  Hepatitis C and the Tender Connection of Breastfeeding:

While the risk of transmitting Hepatitis C through breast milk is relatively low, it is essential to understand the intricacies:

– Mother-to-child transmission: The primary concern for transmission arises during childbirth rather than through breastfeeding.

– Minimizing the risk: Healthcare professionals commonly agree that breastfeeding can be safe for Hepatitis C-positive mothers when certain conditions are met, such as intact nipples and the absence of active bleeding or cracked skin.

– Embracing impeccable hygiene: By diligently adhering to proper hygiene practices, such as washing hands before breastfeeding and handling breast milk with care, you further diminish the risk of transmission.

 The Guiding Light of Healthcare Providers: 

Your journey as a Hepatitis-positive mother requires those guidance and support of healthcare providers who specialize in this realm. Consider the following:

Seeking expert counsel: Consulting with healthcare professionals who comprehend the intricacies of your unique circumstances is crucial for receiving personalized recommendations.

Assessing individual risks: Factors such as viral load, liver health, and any co-infections will be meticulously evaluated to determine the most appropriate course of action.

– Placing trust in their expertise: Healthcare providers will offer invaluable insight into managing your Hepatitis while breastfeeding, addressing any concerns that may linger in your heart along the way.

 

Nurturing Your Baby, Managing Hepatitis:

Effectively managing your Hepatitis while breastfeeding becomes a proactive endeavor, cherishing the well-being of both you and your baby. Healthcare provider may consider these steps:

– Antiviral therapy: In certain cases, when needed, healthcare providers may prescribe antiviral therapy to lower your viral load, which minimizing the risk of transmission to your newborn baby.

– The gentle rhythm of monitoring: Regular check-ups to monitor your viral load and liver function serve as guardians, ensuring the continued health and vitality of both you and your baby.

Promoting the sacredness of hygiene: By embracing the beauty of hand hygiene and meticulously following proper breast milk handling techniques, you create an additional layer of protection against transmission.

The embrace of emotional support: Coping with Hepatitis while breastfeeding can be emotionally challenging. Lean on your loved ones, seek solace in support groups, and rely on healthcare professionals who offer understanding, compassion, and unwavering encouragement.

 

Dosage and schedule of hepatitis b vaccine and immunoglobulin for a newborn baby;

 

If your baby is born with a low birth weight of less than 1500 grams or prematurely, it’s important to know that their response to the hepatitis B vaccination may be lower initially compared to full term babies. However, rest assured that the final response rates are comparable. To provide an extra layer of protection for your precious bundle, it is recommended to administer Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIG) alongside the vaccination. This additional measure is meant to safeguard your baby’s health. The HBIG dosage for these special cases is 250 units (1.75ml), which can be given in divided doses within the first 7 days of life.

 

If your baby is considered high risk based on the results of the mother’s antenatal serology, specific criteria such as HBsAg positive and HBeAg positive, a history of acute hepatitis B during pregnancy, or a known high HBV DNA level should be taken into account. In such cases, both HBIG and the hepatitis B vaccination should be administered to your little one to provide the utmost protection.

 

On the other hand, if the mother’s antenatal serology indicates that she is HBsAg positive and anti-HBe positive, your baby would fall into the low-risk category. In this case, the hepatitis B vaccination alone is sufficient.

 

The dosage and schedule for Engerix B® (monovalent) vaccination is 10 micrograms (0.5ml) and should be given intramuscular injection in the anterolateral thigh immediately after birth and second dose at 12 months of age. It’s compulsory to note that for low birth weight (if weight is less than 1500gm) and preterm babies, the full neonatal dose is recommended to ensure their wellbeing. Infanrix hexa® (hexavalent) vaccine should be administered in a dosage of 0.5ml in the form of intramuscular injection in the anterolateral thigh at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of baby age.

 

Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (which is called HBIG) dosage is 250 units (1.75ml), administered in intramuscular injection in the anterolateral thigh.

 

It is strongly encouraged and supported to breastfed your baby, even if it born with Hepatitis B positive and undergoing immunization. However, it’s important to note that the mother should refrain from donating her milk to ensure the utmost caution.

 

Following the administration of the hepatitis B vaccination and HBIG, it is crucial to document the vaccination properly according to local practices. Additionally, a letter should be sent to the General Physician or concern Child Health Department, informing them about the increased risk of vertical transmission of Hepatitis B from mother to baby. Further appointments should be scheduled to complete the course of vaccination, and a blood sample should be taken during the 4th dose of vaccine to check for hepatitis B viral transmission.

 

In cases of prophylaxis failure and your precious baby may become chronically infected with hepatitis B virus, it’s important to take the expert opinion of a pediatrician specialized in pediatric infectious diseases. This pediatrician will provide a complete assessment and further management, including a referral to a tertiary pediatric hepatologist for ongoing follow-up care.

 

 

Conclusion:

Breastfeeding can become a resplendent and secure experience for Hepatitis-positive mothers when approached with caution, guidance, and love. By engaging in open dialogue with healthcare professionals, evaluating individual risk factors, and implementing recommended practices, you can embark on your breastfeeding journey with confidence. Embrace the wonders of nurturing your baby’s health and well-being, knowing that healthcare providers stand alongside you, providing the support necessary to effectively manage the risk of transmission. May your breastfeeding journey be filled with boundless love, unwavering strength, and the profound joy that springs forth from nourishing your baby’s body, mind, and spirit.

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