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Q&A: Breastfeeding with multiple sclerosis?

I have multiple sclerosis. Can I breastfeed my baby?

Re: I have multiple sclerosis. Can I breastfeed my baby?

The Bump Expert

Yes. A baby can't contract multiple sclerosis through breastfeeding, and breastfeeding doesn't seem to have any negative effect on the mother's symptoms. In fact a recent study suggested that exclusive breastfeeding can help prevent a postpartum relapse of MS. In the study, nearly two out of three women with multiple sclerosis who breastfed exclusively for at least two months didn't experience a relapse of symptoms. Eighty-seven percent of the MS sufferers who didn’t breastfeed, or who started using baby formula in the first two months, suffered a relapse.

Breastfeeding might even help protect your baby from a future of multiple sclerosis: A 1994 study found lower rates of MS among individuals who breastfed longer than six months.

As if that's not enough, breastfeeding your baby has tons of health benefits for both of you, so we encourage you to go for it.

As for practicality, you might find that a baby sling can help you nurse without having to hold baby's weight with your arms. Pillows offer invaluable support too. Even better, learn to nurse lying down, so you can rest while baby feeds.

Erin van Vuuren