Nursing and Cold Sores? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 03-03-2009, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi I'm new to this forum. I'm expecting my second baby in April. I didn't nurse our DS. I've been reading things about how nursing can be dangerous if you have a cold sore (due to herpes simplex) on your breast. Is it dangerous if you only get them on your lips? I've been reading conflicting information, and am slightly worried. I get cold sores every so often (not frequently, but enough). Does anyone have any information on this?
Thank you
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#2 of 5 Old 03-03-2009, 10:17 PM
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I know that a cold sore on your mouth is no problem for breastfeeding. I don't know about whether drug treatments are compatible with bf, but just having a cold sore (or other type of Herpes infection) does not need to affect nursing.

I don't know about having an actual sore on the breast. I checked Kellymom, and there is no mention of it. Maybe somebody else around here knows.

(BTW, since you're new here, do you know about Kellymom? It's a wonderful resource!)

Dawn - Mom to : Jack 11/04 and David 5/08
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#3 of 5 Old 03-06-2009, 04:29 PM
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I sometimes get cold sore outbreaks from stress. Sure enough, I felt one coming on shortly after birth. My doc called in valtrex right away. I can't remember if it's an L2 or L3, but we both felt the antiviral was less risky than neonatal herpes.

The nascent sores were on my lips, but DS was a feisty newborn who attempted to bean me in the face a lot. I didn't want to risk any more exposure.

Good luck!

Chasing DS since April 2007 and pumping for DD March 2013.

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#4 of 5 Old 01-11-2012, 08:40 PM
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I usually get cold sores on the side of my mouth that end up scabbing over. I've used HSV-Zero on them at night (it's a brown color so I don't use it in public), and they dry out and heal much faster. I'd say maybe 3 days instead of the usual 10.

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#5 of 5 Old 01-17-2012, 04:29 PM
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Cold sore on anyone's lips would be a contact risk for a newborn. There have been rare cases of a baby dying from exposure to a cold sore. Of course there are many cases every year of babies dying from not being breastfed. Some hospitals may isolate a mother from her baby if she has a cold sore. It is a complicated problem since oral sex is so common now and the herpes that causes a cold sore on the lips may be a genital herpes viris. A person could have a sore in their mouth so it is a good idea to not let anyone kiss your newborn.


I've never heard of a person with herpes on a nipple. There would be a contact risk but it would seem like it would be ok to nurse on the other breast as long as the mother can be with her baby. Care should be taken that there is no contact with the sore or anything that has had contact with the sore.


Don't be discouraged about breastfeeding since it helps fight infections. If the very worst happened and you couldn't breastfeed at birth you could pump and nurse as soon as possible.

: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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