Does sexually transmitted infection (STI) affect breastfeeding?

Talk with your doctor, nurse, or a lactation consultant about the risk of passing the STI to your baby while breastfeeding. If you have chlamydia or gonorrhea, you can keep breastfeeding. If you have syphilis or herpes, you can keep breastfeeding as long as the sores are covered. Syphilis and herpes are spread through contact with sores and can be dangerous to your newborn. If you have sores on your nipple or areola, stop breastfeeding on that breast. Pump or hand express your milk from that breast until the sore clears. Pumping will help keep up your milk supply and prevent your breast from getting engorged or overly full. You can store your milk to give to your baby in a bottle for another feeding. But if parts of your breast pump that contact the milk also touch the sore(s) while pumping, you should throw the milk away.

If you are being treated for an STI, ask your doctor about the possible effects of the drug on your breastfeeding baby. Most treatments for STIs are safe to use while breastfeeding.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

Continue Learning about Breastfeeding A Baby

Breastfeeding, the Next Olympic Sport
Breastfeeding, the Next Olympic Sport
This week’s cover of Time shows a young mother breastfeeding her son—a boy, nearly 4 years old, who is standing on a chair to reach his mother’s breas...
Read More
What are benefits of gel pads for breastfeeding mothers?
Intermountain HealthcareIntermountain Healthcare
As you may know, "regular" cotton breast pads are tucked into your bra cups to help absorb any leaki...
More Answers
What can I do about sore nipples from breastfeeding?
Dr. Tanya R. Altmann, MDDr. Tanya R. Altmann, MD
Enlisting the advice of a lactation consultant at the first sign of trouble, if not before, to lea...
More Answers
Is Breastfeeding Impossible After Breast Augmentation Surgery?
Is Breastfeeding Impossible After Breast Augmentation Surgery?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.