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Thread: Breastfeeding and shingles?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Default Breastfeeding and shingles?

    Anyone knows anything about BFing and shingles? I haven't been officially diagnosed (going to the dr tomorrow) but I have a strong suspicion I might have shingles--and might be having an outbreak. My baby is 11 months old so hasn't had the chickenpox shot yet.

    Can a mom BF while having a shingles outbreak? How about medication? Anyone with experience and/or advice?

    I am SO WORRIED about my baby.

    PS. I have a suspicious rash--it's not a major rash, it's three or four small spots where there are red little bumps. One of the clusters is on my breast near the areola. Not on the areola, but very close.
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  2. #2
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    May 2010
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and shingles?

    I believe that you can take Valtrex for shingles. And Valtrex is compatible with nursing.

    I'd call infantrisk.com.

    Christine
    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and shingles?

    You can nurse when you have shingles, but not all docs know this. My mom was ordered to wean my 3 month-old baby sis when she had an outbreak. The doc told her that if shingles "got in the baby's eyes" she could go blind. However blindness from the chickenpox virus is exceedingly rare and if my mom had just been told to practice scrupulous hygiene and cover any active lesions, she could have continued to nurse.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and shingles?

    thanks for the quick replies. i can barely function thinking about this. the problem is that i didn't realize this could be shingles until my baby had already nursed several times from the breast where the lesions are. and one of the lesion is kind of on the spot where her nose hits my breast. the lesion started out as a reddened area and i had a plug there that morning, so i thought it was from the plug, i even thought mastitis. so i nursed without covering anything. this morning i tried to cover with a cotton pad and baby didn't want the breast. i then put simple dressing tape on it and she nursed. i did take a long shower before i nursed her.

    the lesions don't look too bad, they're not oozing or anything. but i had the other symptoms (pain around thorax/rib cage, burning skin) and it was only after i looked up "painful rash" that i realized this could fit the bill. never in a million years would i have thought of it otherwise. i feel so guilty and worried.

    now, to make everything more complicated: first, i do think i still have a little plug in that breast so i am not sure i should hold back on nursing on it. second, my baby has never taken a bottle, and i am fighting an uphill battle to teach her to drink from a sippy cup or regular cup. she WON'T TAKE it. all she drinks is milk from mama's breast. so i can't pump and give it to her, i don't even have a pump good enough for it.

    and to make it all even more complicated we're going on a trip to my husband's hometown in canada tomorrow for six days. i am PANICKING. if you have more advice, or even just a few reassuring words, i'd be so grateful. i am in a lot of pain but i don't care, i am just worried about my baby.
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and shingles?

    It's going to be okay, mama! If the lesion isn't oozing or anything the likelihood that it's going to infect baby with chickenpox is low. And as long as you cover the lesions The likelihood of infection is very, very low. (I had to research all this because my mom had a second(!) outbreak of shingles around the time my second daunted was born.)

    Have you seen the doc? You want to get on the antiviral meds sooner rather than later, since they are most effective when taken immediately.

    If you're afraid to nurse on the affected breast, please pump! You don't want plugged ducts and/or mastitis added to your issues! Either buy a good pump or rent a hospital-grade one.

    It's going to be okay, mama!!! This happens and it sucks, but you're going to get through it.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and shingles?

    mommal, you're the best. when i first posted here i was hoping you'd see my post 'cause you always know SO MUCH. thank you.

    the dr prescribred valtrex just as christine said. the dr even called infant risk at my request and at infant risk they said valtrex is OK but they also said (infant risk) for me to pump on the affected side and nurse on the other. all i have is a manual harmony pump. which pump should i get? considering that we're traveling i'm thinking a hospital-grade one would be too big... anything else you suggest?
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and shingles?

    If you're going to be pumping that breast for several weeks, which seems possible, you want a good pump. A hospital-grade pump is heavy and clunky, but I think there's an argument to be made for it because a) it's going to be the easiest way to maintain your supply, and b) you won't be stuck with it forever. Run the numbers- I think a hospital-grade rental may be less expensive than a good double electric, since you're not talking about keeping the thing forever. If you don't want a hospital-grade, I'd go with an Ameda Purely Yours or better machine.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  8. #8
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    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and shingles?

    definitely the hospital-grade will be cheaper--i had to rent one for a plugged duct several months ago, and i kept forgetting to return it for weeks, and it still was maybe around 60 bucks (plus the parts i got to keep).

    hmmm. you do make a good argument. i'll have to think about it. we already have so much crap to lug when we fly tomorrow. (can you tell i'm not in the least inclined to take this trip? i already didn't want to go... now even less)

    i called my baby's pedi and i'll take her in today for a shot of the chickenpox vaccine (2 weeks before the regular date of the first shot) and keep an eye for symptoms--if she breaks out we'll also use an antiviral.

    i can't believe the irony of it all. but i know there are WAY WORSE things that can happen so at least i'm glad there are some solutions.
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and shingles?

    Sending you lots of healing vibes!

    Christine
    Baby Girl Born 2/17/10 to her two mommies
    BF from day one. I looked up one day and realized I'm nursing a toddler!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Default Re: Breastfeeding and shingles?

    thank you, Christine! This is SO SO SO PAINFUL!!! And the pain is just there all the time... At the end of a long day that included a trip to the pedi for baby's shot, I finally got my valtrex and my ibuprofen, and the ibuprofen is already giving me some relief.

    Most importantly, the pedi looked at my lesion, said it wasn't so bad, and said that if I covered it well I could nurse from the breast!!!! SO HAPPY! my manual pump was painful and ineffective and my breast was sore from the milk too. i just nursed baby, she emptied up so well... what a relief to nurse her, relief in every sense, especially EMOTIONAL after so much anguish.

    thank you all!
    march 2011... the light of my life

    i love my little one

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