During pregnancy, a combination of HIV drugs is advised to reduce the chances of mother to child transmission (also know as vertical or perinatal HIV transmission). After giving birth, it’s recommended you use formula instead of breastfeeding to avoid the risk of transmission through breastmilk. There have been programs offering free infant formula to HIV+ moms in BC; check with us or Oak Tree for current information.
Some women mourn the loss of breastfeeding, while others see the opportunity in it- like getting more sleep while someone else feeds the baby! Some wonder whether forgoing breastfeeding will mean they can’t properly bond with their baby. This isn’t the case at all. You can bond with your baby by looking into her eyes as you feed her (a newborn can focus on your eyes from your arms), holding her, talking and singing to her, and generally making her a big deal! Generations of people were formula fed and have grown up to be healthy, well-adjusted people.
Formula feeding is an option that many women turn to when they have conditions like HIV or are taking medications that wouldn’t be safe for their newborns to absorb. If people hassle you about why you aren’t breastfeeding and you don’t want to share your HIV status with them, fair enough. You can simply say you are taking medications that aren’t compatible with breastfeeding (one woman used her migraine medication as an excuse). Really, it’s none of their business.