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Thread: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

  1. #1

    Default Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    My twins were born prematurely at 29 weeks, and are in the NICU. I have been pumping and bringing the breastmilk to the hospital; however, the first time it was fed to my babies, they got a blood infection. The hospital tested the babies and the breastmilk, and found that the babies and the breastmilk had the same bacteria...a common one found on the skin. I have replaced all my pump parts, bought the bags that hang off the breastshields (to avoid transferring from a bottle), boil everything after every use, wash myself throroughly, and the bacteria is still there. Depending on who I speak to at the hospital, sometimes I am told to dump the breastmilk and forget about breastfeeding, and other times I am told to freeze it, because the babies are preemies and may not be able to handle it now, but may in the future. My OB/GYN doesn't seem to know anything about it, so I have not been tested for anything. Has anyone ever had this situation?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    I've never heard of this, but I emailed an IBCLC who I know and asked her about it. I'll let you know when I hear back from her.

    Is there a lactation consultant at the hospital your babies are at or at a nearby hospital you could contact? What happened when they were fed your breast milk - like how were they ill? What type of bacteria? My first thought when I read this was MRSA - like maybe you have it on your skin (which many people do) and it got into the breast milk and it somehow infected your babies' blood. We dealt with some MRSA stuff with my son when he was in the NICU, but he was colonized with it, not infected with it. We met with the hospital's infectious disease prevention and control personnel when this happened - maybe you could meet with someone from that department at your hospital.
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    Welcome and congratulations on the babies! Sorry that they had to come so early.

    I would definitely freeze the milk you're pumping now. Most bacteria do not survive the digestive process, and I'm willing to bet that whatever this bacteria is, your babies will be able to handle it when they're a bit bigger and their guts and their immune systems are more mature.

    I'm kind of skeptical about your breastmilk being the source of your baby's blood infections. I hate to say it, because I don't think that a mom of preemie twins needs more worries, but hospitals are not particularly clean places. They are crawling with bacteria, and one slip-up by hospital staff (someone forgets to wash their hands or doesn't wash enough or forgets to sterilize the baby's skin before inserting a line) seems like a more logical source of infection than your milk.
    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: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    Hi mama...congratulations on your babies!

    If you don't mind me asking, what was the blood infection that they got, and what was the bacteria that they said was found in the breastmilk?
    I'm Hillary
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    Default Re: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    I got a response from a lactation consultant at our local hospital and she said it's very hard to get a sterile sample of your milk to test it for the bacteria and after sitting for a while your breast milk should destroy the pathogens. She hasn't had anyone (she's been a lactation consultant for many, many years and was a NICU nurse before that) been told they can't continue to provide their baby with breast milk for this reason.

    I'm wondering if it was coincidence that they got sick the first time they were given your milk. Babies that are born early are so susceptible to many complications and it may have had nothing to do with your breast milk.

    I'll look up some more stuff later and let you know if I find anything helpful.
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    No advice for you, but I wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS from one preemie twin mom to another!!

    Lori
    Mom to daughter (8/17/07) and mom to fraternal twin sons (1/5/10)


    *Mom with chronic health issues, NICU babies, reflux sufferers, multiple food allergies (mom and kids)
    *DD birthweight 5lb, 14oz, now 26lb, 4oz
    *DS1 birthweight 4lb, 6oz, now 19lb
    *DS2 birthweight 4lb, 2oz, now 18lb, 12oz

    **An EXCELLENT speller, unless I have either a child on my lap or I'm using my cell phone!**


    EP MOM FOR 14.5 MONTHS - NOW USING UP MY FROZEN BM SUPPLY!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    Thanks, everyone. Yes, I did meet with the lactation consultants at the hospital, but all they did was give me a list of instructions on how to wash my hands and maintain cleanliness of the pumping equipment. All I can get from the head of the NICU at the hospital is that the breastmilk contains a common skin bacteria...he would not give me the name of it---whatever it was, antibiotics cleared it up in a few days. About a week later, I was talking to another doctor there, who said that since the infection was in the babies' blood, it could've also come from the IV's, but the consensus seems to be that if both babies caught it, it's the milk. Like I said, I bought new breastshields and the Medela bags that you can pump directly into, and gave the hospital a new sample, but they still tell me the bacteria is there. I'm still pumping and freezing, hoping that I'll be able to use it at some point. Everyone stresses how important it is for babies' health to get mom's milk, and it's frustrating that I can't give it to them.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*neese812 View Post
    All I can get from the head of the NICU at the hospital is that the breastmilk contains a common skin bacteria...he would not give me the name of it---
    I would go back and demand the name of the bacteria. You deserve a full answer from the docs. They have the charts, and it's not that hard to look up what the babies are being treated for.

    About a week later, I was talking to another doctor there, who said that since the infection was in the babies' blood, it could've also come from the IV's, but the consensus seems to be that if both babies caught it, it's the milk.
    To me, this sounds like a case of denial on the part of the docs. You're getting blamed for something that could easily be iatrogenic (doctor-caused). I don't see why both babies having the infection means your milk is a more likely source- after all, I'm willing to bet that the same person inserted both IVs at around the same time. If that person wasn't as careful as he/she should have been... And your LOs have a blood infection. I don't think that bacteria in milk, which goes into the digestive system and is exposed to stomach acid, are likely to cause a blood infection without also causing a gastrointestinal infection.

    I'm still pumping and freezing, hoping that I'll be able to use it at some point.
    You will!

    Everyone stresses how important it is for babies' health to get mom's milk, and it's frustrating that I can't give it to them.
    I can't imagine how frustrating this must be. Have you considered donor milk?
    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!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*neese812 View Post
    Thanks, everyone. Yes, I did meet with the lactation consultants at the hospital, but all they did was give me a list of instructions on how to wash my hands and maintain cleanliness of the pumping equipment. All I can get from the head of the NICU at the hospital is that the breastmilk contains a common skin bacteria...he would not give me the name of it---whatever it was, antibiotics cleared it up in a few days. About a week later, I was talking to another doctor there, who said that since the infection was in the babies' blood, it could've also come from the IV's, but the consensus seems to be that if both babies caught it, it's the milk. Like I said, I bought new breastshields and the Medela bags that you can pump directly into, and gave the hospital a new sample, but they still tell me the bacteria is there. I'm still pumping and freezing, hoping that I'll be able to use it at some point. Everyone stresses how important it is for babies' health to get mom's milk, and it's frustrating that I can't give it to them.
    You have the right to know anything and everything about your babies and their care. You may have to be pushy and demanding to get answers. Doctors and nurses can and do make mistakes so it's important to ask questions until you feel satisfied with the answers you get.

    Does your hospital have a social worker assigned to you? He/she may be able to help you advocate for your babies through appropriate channels.

    When my son was in the NICU (he was born at 29.6wks gestation) I came in one day and the neonatologist (the one who I really liked) said that my son tested positive for colonization of MRSA (they test the babies every week) and would be going into isolation. I asked how he got it and he said, in a very accusatory tone, that it must have been given to him by my husband or I, that it's usually brought in by parents. We were basically treated like a walking plague during the two days we were waiting for my husband and my test results to come in. Well, they came in and we both tested negative. The hospital got very defensive and insisted that it still could have been us because it could be a false negative. They said the staff wouldn't be tested, nothing else would be done.

    Also, shortly after my son's birth I got thrush in my mouth (I was on high doses of antibiotics before his birth and in the hospital on bed rest due to my water breaking). When the NICU found out about this, they refused to use my breast milk - my Dr's office (who I called to get a prescription to treat it) even called the NICU and told the nurses there, and they even told me I couldn't come see him until it was gone, because they were concerned that it would pass on to him. I talked to the lactation consultants and they said that was ridiculous because I didn't have it on my nipples or in my milk, just in my mouth. They talked to the nurses and neonatologists and I was able to come visit (although I had to wear a mask) and they gave him my breast milk again.

    Point being - there is misinformation and mistakes happen, so you have to stand your ground.
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bacteria in breastmilk made twin preemies ill

    I've been searching through articles to find info. for you. Here's one and I'll post more if they're applicable.

    http://www.dynabizvenezuela.com/imag...0infection.pdf
    Mommy to:

    Emmalynn Marie
    Born at 37 weeks on 12/22/06
    5lbs 1oz 19 1/2in

    Owen Charles
    Born at 29 wks 6 days on 01/17/09
    2lbs 14oz 15in
    In NICU for 2 months


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