My nursing 17 month old has Oral Herpes- please help!
My little one developed oral herpes but wasn’t diagnosed until several days after mouth sores developed. I continued to nurse him (the peds doc thought it was coxsackie virus). His latch was shallow and poor and I soon developed a few scabs on my nipples. He has teeth now so I assumed these were from a bad latch since his mouth was so painful and he could barely suck. It was the only comfort I could try to give him. I’m concerned now that he may have passed herpes onto my nipples. According to internet searching this is unlikely but possible. I never had sores from a poor latch before so I’m unsure if that’s truly what my scabs are from or if it’s herpes. I did not get multiple vesicles which is typical of herpes but I’m still concerned. They burned when they were fresh but feel ok now. Does anyone have experience with this? Any advise? I will see my OBGYN on Monday but may not be able to culture my scabs then. If it is herpes I’m concerned about nursing a second child because I wouldn’t want to pass herpes onto him/her. I know newborns can die from herpes.
The passing of herpes from toddler to mother’s nipples by breastfeeding has been documented by Sealander and Kerr (1989), and the full paper is online here. The mother in that case was treated with acyclovir. With regard to future babies if your test results come back positive the article Herpes and Breastfeeding has some links and excerpts from several good breastfeeding resources about how to breastfeed a baby if mother has the herpes virus. You may also find this thread useful from Thomas Hale’s Infant Risk website; it starts discussing shingles but herpes simplex is mentioned further down and anti viral medications and hygiene practices are shared. I hope that helps a little and that other mothers and IBCLCs will have some experience to share too.