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If I have hepatitis C, can I breastfeed if my nipples are cracked or bleeding?

ANSWER

Cracked or bleeding nipples are a common issue for nursing mothers. If you have hepatitis C, research doesn’t directly say if it’s OK to continue breastfeeding with cracked, bleeding nipples or not. But experts say the safest bet is to stop nursing until your nipples heal. To help prevent your milk from drying up, pump it and throw it away.

It’s also best to take a break from breastfeeding if:

Feel free to start nursing again once you are symptom free.

  • You have an infection like mastitis, or inflamed breast tissue
  • Your breast is bruised or injured
  • You notice cuts in your baby’s mouth

SOURCES:

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “Hepatitis C.”

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: “Hepatitis C.”

Paediatrics Child Health: “Hepatitis C in Pregnancy.”

Mayo Clinic: “Mastitis.”

CDC: “Hepatitis B or C Infections, “Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for the Public, “What to Expect while Breastfeeding.”

Advances in experimental medicine and biology : “Mother-to-infant Hepatitis C Virus Transmission and Breastfeeding.”

Annals of Internal Medicine: “Reducing Risk for Mother-To-Infant Transmission of Hepatitis C Virus: A Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.”

New Jersey Department of Health: “Hepatitis C & Pregnant Women.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Hepatitis B and C in Pregnancy.”

Government of Western Australia Department of Health: “Hepatitis C and breastfeeding.”

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on June 29, 2020

SOURCES:

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “Hepatitis C.”

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: “Hepatitis C.”

Paediatrics Child Health: “Hepatitis C in Pregnancy.”

Mayo Clinic: “Mastitis.”

CDC: “Hepatitis B or C Infections, “Hepatitis C Questions and Answers for the Public, “What to Expect while Breastfeeding.”

Advances in experimental medicine and biology : “Mother-to-infant Hepatitis C Virus Transmission and Breastfeeding.”

Annals of Internal Medicine: “Reducing Risk for Mother-To-Infant Transmission of Hepatitis C Virus: A Systematic Review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.”

New Jersey Department of Health: “Hepatitis C & Pregnant Women.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Hepatitis B and C in Pregnancy.”

Government of Western Australia Department of Health: “Hepatitis C and breastfeeding.”

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on June 29, 2020

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If I have hepatitis C, does my child need to get tested for the virus?

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