Infant Health of Mothers With Multiple Sclerosis

Controversy surrounds whether mothers with multiple sclerosis (MS) who wish to breast-feed their infants should forgo breast-feeding in order to resume immunomodulating therapy following birth even though breast-feeding has not been shown to have deleterious effects on these mothers. Knowledge of potential health benefits to infants through breast-feeding could influence health care providers to encourage mothers with MS who wish to breast-feed to do so. This study of 140 breast-feeding and 35 non-breast-feeding mothers with MS identifies the type and prevalence of illnesses experienced by their infants during the first 6 postpartum months and at 9 months and 12 months. Significantly more non-breast-fed than breast-fed infants experienced otitis media, lower respiratory illness, constipation, milk intolerance, and allergy during the 1st year. Study results support the need to encourage mothers with MS who wish to breast-feed their infants to do so and to delay immunomodulating therapy until breast-feeding cessation.
Western Journal of Nursing Research, 2004, 26(6), 632-649

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