7.3.1 Breast milk or formula?
In this study session our focus is on the risk of HIV being transmitted from the mother to her newborn baby in her breast milk, and how you can support and counsel her about feeding options. If 20 HIV-positive mothers breastfeed their HIV-negative babies exclusively for the first six months, on average one to three of the babies will become infected with HIV through its mother’s breast milk. So the mother has a difficult choice to make. She has to balance the risk to her baby from HIV transmission during breastfeeding, against the risk of not breastfeeding and losing all the benefits described above. Formula feeding also exposes the baby to increased risk of infection from unsterilised bottles and malnutrition from incorrectly made feeds.