Categorized | Health

When is Breastfeeding a Bad Idea?

Due to the health benefits of breastfeeding, women are typically recommended to breastfeed their babies. What many people do not realize is that breastfeeding is not an ideal choice for everyone. Here are some of the circumstances in which breastfeeding can be a very bad idea.


Women who are HIV positive should not breastfeed. The risk of passing HIV to the baby through breastfeeding is very high. Breastfeeding is generally considered to be an ideal situation because the benefits outweigh any risks. When there is an HIV positive status in the mother, however, the risk of transmitting the virus is definitely something to be more concerned about than the benefits of breastfeeding.


Mothers who have tuberculosis also should avoid breastfeeding their children. The disease, which is highly contagious, can be passed onto your child. It is a very serious disease, so there is absolutely no reason for you to put your baby at risk of contracting it through breastfeeding.

Breast Infections

Generally, it is safe to breastfeed your baby even with a breast infection. The chances of passing your breast infection onto your baby are slim. That said, it is important to make sure that you get your breast infection treated prior to making the decision to continue with regular breastfeeding. You will want to follow any instructions given to you by the doctor. If you have a serious infection on your breast, such as staph infection, you will not want to risk passing it on to your baby through breastfeeding.

Drug Addiction

If you are a mother who is addicted to drugs, you should avoid breastfeeding. Cocaine, PCP, and heroine can cause serious damage to the development of the baby. Almost all drugs can cause adverse side effects for your baby when you make the decision to breastfeed. In addition to causing side effects, you are also putting your baby at risk for becoming addicted to the drugs that you are taking. The best thing that moms who are addicted to drugs can do is avoid breastfeeding.

Cancer Treatment

Those who are currently undergoing treatment for cancer will not want to make the decision to breastfeed. Radiation therapy is known to cause harmful effects to the baby. Also keep in mind that drugs which are used to treat cancer are not considered to be healthy for the baby, so you should avoid breastfeeding while you are taking it.

These are just a few of the different reasons in which a woman should avoid breastfeeding. Any time that you think there may be a reason to not breastfeed, the best thing that you can do is ask your doctor. He or she will be able to let you know if breastfeeding is a safe option for you.

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