Pink eye, or as your doctor may refer to it conjunctivitis, can be a contagious infection and results in itchy, red, swollen eyes. Getting a proper diagnosis of the type of pink eye that you have will help you determine whether it’s something you can pass on to your child.
If you do have a contagious form of pink eye then there will be the possibility of your baby getting it as well, since the virus doesn’t discriminate. And if your baby is still very young their immune system will not be fully developed, so there’s a higher chance of them getting it. It’s generally not something that you need to get overly excited about, and rarely does it escalate into something serious, but the pain and discomfort that can come with it are enough to try and avoid passing it along as best you can.
Luckily the pink eye virus or bacteria will not leap out of your eye and into your baby’s eye, so you simply need to be careful about what you touch and what they touch. But that can be easier said than done, as we unconsciously touch our faces hundreds of times throughout the day, and of course taking care of a baby requires a lot of tactile contact. With a few preventive measures you should be able to avoid giving it to them.
Can I Give My Baby Pink Eye? Answer: Yes.
Since many things can look like pink eye but aren’t it’s best to get looked at by your doctor rather than just assume that you have it. Even something like an allergic reaction can mimic the symptoms of pink eye, and since there are four different types you’ll want to know which type you have as well. Regardless, you can still immediately begin to take precautionary measures if you think you might have it.
The best things you can do when you yourself have pink eye is to remember to frequently wash your hands. Unconsciously rubbing your eye and then touching anything that will then touch your baby is a surefire way to make sure that they’ll get it too. It can be hard to start up this habit if you currently only wash your hands infrequently, like before a meal. It’s also recommended that you toss out any make-up or other items that go near your eye, as a way to make sure that you don’t re-infect yourself if you were unable to determine where you got it from.
The Breast Milk Remedy
Rumor has it you can cure the bacterial type of pink eye by using your own breast milk. They credit the antibody immunoglobulin A as the reason for its success, and there are apparently many more remedies that breast milk is good for. If they’ve got the viral form of it you likely won’t see much improvement, but it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. As always, we recommend seeing your doctor if you or your baby develops pink eye.
And since you might have guessed, it is safe to continue breastfeeding your baby if you come down with a case of pink eye, as the antibodies it contains will protect them from getting it. Just be sure to wash your hands prior to doing so, and try not to touch your face or theirs during the process.
Seeing the Doctor
If you’ve got a newborn on your hands you’ll want to make sure that you take them in right away if you suspect they have pink eye. If your baby is older you don’t need to be as alarmed, because pink eye will typically go away on its own in about a week’s time, and you don’t have to do anything special or treat it with eye drops or intervene in any other way. You can always try to keep the area clean, especially if it is the bacterial type of infection that comes with the thick yellow discharge. A little extra TLC during this time is also a big help.
So to recap: Yes, it’s possible to give your child pink eye if you have one of the two types that are contagious. Be sure to get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor and then take the steps necessary to keep it confined to just you.