Last update: July 19, 2017
Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.
The insect venom is a complex mixture of polypeptides, amines, proteinaceous enzymes (proteases, phospholipases, hyaluronidase), histamine and other substances.
Most of them cannot pass into milk because of its high molecular weight. Some that would pass into the milk do it in very small amounts, yet due to its proteinaceous nature it is readily inactivated in the gastrointestinal tract of the infant and not absorbed, except in premature babies and during the immediate neonatal period, which may show an increased permeability of the intestine.
It has been reported a mild allergic-like reaction in a 12-days-old newborn who was breastfed one hour after the mother had been chopped on the lip by a bee that caused to her a widespread reaction in the face (Kaya 2012).
Topical or systemic products that can be used to treat insect bites (like repellents, antihistamines, epinephrine, corticosteroids, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory, antibiotics, etc.) are compatible with breastfeeding. Whenever necessary, it should be used 2nd generation antihistamine (e.g. Loratadine, Cetirizine) due to a lacking sedative effect.
The antivenoms or antivenin sera, that can be applied in certain severe cases, are specific immunoglobulins obtained from serum of horses or other animals that due to their high molecular weight do not pass to milk.
Given the absence of problems or low risk for the infant when a mother has been bitten by mosquitoes, wasps, bees, spiders or other insects, interruption of breastfeeding is not recommended. Only in case of widespread reaction in the mother or infants under one month of life, it may be prudent to wait for about 3 hours to resume breastfeeding.
Incidentally, it has been used bee venom, specifically one of its peptides, Melittin, to increase milk production in various breedings (Choi 2001, Grandison 1984).
The bite of some insects, especially mosquitoes, can transmit infectious diseases (Zika virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, Ae. Aegypti and Ae. Albopictus mosquito or Tigre, West Nile fever, Malaria, etc.) or bugs in case of Chagas’ Disease. However, these diseases are not transmitted through the milk to the infant. See info on Zika Virus, West Nile fever or Chagas' disease.
Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.
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e-lactancia is a resource recommended by Asociación Española de Bancos de Leche Humana from Spain
Would you like to recommend the use of e-lactancia? Write to us at corporate mail of APILAM