One of the benefits of breastfeeding is the sterility of mom’s milk. However, even in this valuable product there may be one of the most dangerous microorganisms — Staphylococcus.
In reality Staphylococcus is everywhere: in the air, on our skin, in our food, in the respiratory tract and even in the digestive tract. And it can be almost always found in breast milk. Staph is a conditionally pathogenic bacterium, because a human with normal immunity does not develop any diseases from its presence.
Staphylococcus in breast milk becomes dangerous when:
- you get the staph infection in hospital, as hospital infections are always dangerous and resistant to treatment,
- the baby is very weak,
- the concentration of Staphylococcus is much higher than normal,
- intestinal dysbiosis in the baby;
- presence of other infectious diseases;
- previous surgery.
The most dangerous kind of staphylococci, which can be detected in breast milk, is Staphylococcus Aureus. He got the name thanks to its distinctive characteristic — golden color. The bacterium is protected by a microcapsule, which helps it to penetrate into organs and tissues. Under favorable conditions, Staphylococcus begins to secrete toxic substances and enzymes with destructive effect on the cell structure. The insidiousness of this microorganism is that after the disease, the body does not produce a strong immune system and it always remains a possibility of reinfection. Besides, Staphylococcus Aureus is extremely resistant to external factors and it doesn’t die under the influence of hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, sunlight and even after 5-minute boiling.
MRSA can cause purulent-inflammatory skin diseases and mucous membranes, and in the most severe cases — sepsis, meningitis, pneumonia, abscesses of internal organs.
Symptoms of staph in breast milk.
The signs of staph infection in the baby:
- loss of appetite,
- decrease in weight gain,
- inflammation of the umbilical ring,
- pustules on the skin or flaky skin.
The signs of staph infection in the mother:
- sore nipples;
- purulent discharge from the breast,
- pain in the breast.
How to collect breast milk samples for analysis.
If a doctor suspects staph infection in your baby, he’ll prescribe the analysis of your breast milk, called the analysis for sterility. It’s better to collect breast milk samples in the lab, but you can also do it at home. In this case you must deliver samples to the laboratory within 3 hours after collection. This is necessary for more accurate results.
For milk samples take two sterile containers (take them in the laboratory or buy in the pharmacy). Before pumping, wash your hands and breasts with soap, and then wipe your areolae with 70% alcohol. Wipe each breast with a separate swab.
Pump first portion of milk (5−10 ml) in the sink and second portion (10 ml) in a sterile container for analysis. Do not mix the milk from the left and right breasts, you should have individual container for each sample.
In the laboratory, they will determine not only the quantity, but also the quality of bacteria in milk. They’ll also analyze their resistance to bacteriophages, antibiotics and antiseptics. This will help your doctor choose the most effective treatment.
Staphylococcus Aureus treatment.
What if analysis detected Staphylococcus in breast milk? Do not be afraid, if both you and your baby are doing well. The presence of Staphylococcus Aureus in milk is often the result of improper sample collection. If you really have a staph infection, specialists will prescribe a course of antibiotics compatible with breastfeeding. In severe cases hospitalization and refraining from breastfeeding may be required.
If you have a staph infection without any signs, you should not swallow pills. However, remember that staph loves weak bodies, so make every effort to strengthen your immune system.
The main directions of staph treatment are:
- the use of antibiotics to suppress the infection;
- strengthening the body’s immunity;
- regulation of metabolic processes;
- vitamin-mineral complexes;
- normalization of hormonal levels;
- preventing recurrence of infection.