I read this sad story last week in one of the daily papers. An 11 day old baby girl died after her breastfeeding mother got cold sores during her pregnancy. Unfortunately the baby hadn't built up immunity to the virus before her birth and became infected shortly afterwards.
According to her mother the baby's organs all shut down as her body became overwhelmed by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) that causes cold sores and unfortunately nothing could be done to save her.
Now, apparently cold sores are known to be very dangerous to new-borns although it is not something that is routinely mentioned to pregnant mothers. As a mother of three and an occasional cold sore sufferer I was astounded to discover just how dangerous they can be for new-born babies.
I was especially concerned to discover that breastfeeding doesn't necessarily protect the new-born either as I would have assumed the colostrum would have contained the necessary immunity required.
So what should you do if you are breastfeeding (or not) and suffering from a cold sore?
Well, the advice is quite obvious when you think about it. You should refrain from kissing your baby during an outbreak - very difficult but very necessary - and make sure to wash your hands carefully before offering breastfeeds or formula feeds.
Seek medical advice if you feel that familiar cold sore tingle during pregnancy - it might just remind your caregivers how important it is to inform other pregnant women of the dangers of cold sores.
Have your say about this story over on Breastfeeding Mums Forums. See you there :)