Breastfeeding When You and your Baby Are Sick

 

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Tips for Breastfeeding a Sick Baby Common Cold or Nasal Congestion. If your baby has a cold and a stuffy nose, but she can still breastfeed OK, you don’t Ear Infection. An ear infection can be painful, especially during breastfeeding.

Your baby may only breastfeed for a Stomach Bug. Should you breastfeed while you’re sick? If you’re breastfeeding with a cold, no need to worry: Viruses like the common cold do not pass into breast milk, so it’s safe to breastfeed (a good excuse for you to sit and rest!). Learn more about breastfeeding while sick, including over-the-counter medications that are safe to take while breastfeeding.

To prevent transmitting your illness to your baby, breastfeeding mothers should take the following precautions: Before breastfeeding, wash your hands with. Exclusive breastfeeding (meaning no other liquids or solids are given, not even water) for the first 6 months of your baby’s life is his most important protection from illness. Nonetheless, breastmilk is not magic.

It cannot always prevent illness. When a breastfed baby does get sick, he needs to breastfeed more, not less. It is recommended to breastfeed even when the food poisoning occurs. The specialists assure that the baby is not exposed to any risks in this case. If you experience stomach cramps, sickness, nausea and diarrhea due to food poisoning, the baby is still safe.

All these symptoms are limited to the intestinal tract. If your baby is sick, then this is the best time to continue to breastfeed as breast milk contains antibodies that can fight infections & illness and on top of that, breast milk is easily and quickly digested. Breastfeeding a sick baby is also very calming and will speed up a baby’s healing process.

You will know that your baby is getting better when they are more willing to breastfeed. Your baby is going to sick every once in a while. The key is to handle it calmly.

Don’t stop breastfeeding and don’t lose your patience. Remember, patience is key and with persistence (and your lovely breast milk antibodies) your baby will get well soon. If mom has food poisoning, breastfeeding should continue. As long as the symptoms are confined to the gastrointestinal tract (vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps), breastfeeding should continue without interruption as there is no risk to the baby. This is the case with most occurences of food poisoning.

If the food poisoning progresses to septicemia, meaning the bacteria has passed into. When you are sick, you and your baby will almost always benefit from continuing to breastfeed. There are very few illnesses that require a mother to stop nursing. Since most illnesses are caused by viruses that are most contagious before you even realize you are sick, your baby has already been exposed before you even develop symptoms (such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, runny nose, cough, etc). Breastfeeding While Sick with a Virus, Cold or the Flu Many new mothers do not want to breastfeed when they are coming down with a virus, cold or the flu, because they fear giving their illness to their baby.

They fear the baby’s fragile body will not be able to handle the illness, and they just do not want to see their new baby suffer.

List of related literature:

If your baby continues breastfeeding, the antibodies in your milk will either prevent her from catching the illness or, if she does get sick, give her a milder case.

“Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers” by Nancy Mohrbacher, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Jack Newman
from Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers
by Nancy Mohrbacher, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, Jack Newman
New Harbinger Publications, 2010

Acute illnesses such as colds, upper respiratory tract infections, and gastroenteritis are not contraindications for breastfeeding.

“Breastfeeding and Human Lactation” by Karen Wambach, Jan Riordan
from Breastfeeding and Human Lactation
by Karen Wambach, Jan Riordan
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2016

In fact, moms who develop colds and other common illnesses develop antibodies that they pass on through the breast milk, so nursing when sick may actually help the baby.

“Dad's Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies” by Matthew M. F. Miller, Sharon Perkins
from Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy For Dummies
by Matthew M. F. Miller, Sharon Perkins
Wiley, 2010

Some breastfeeding specialists feel that mothers who drink an insufficient amount of fluids, who become slightly dehydrated due to a cold or flu, or who are overly fatigued may also be more susceptible to developing plugged milk ducts.

“The Nursing Mother's Companion” by Ruth A. Lawrence, Kathleen Huggins
from The Nursing Mother’s Companion
by Ruth A. Lawrence, Kathleen Huggins
Harvard Common Press, 2005

Your milk is easier to digest if your baby does get sick from this infection.

“Comprehensive Lactation Consultant Exam Review” by Smith
from Comprehensive Lactation Consultant Exam Review
by Smith
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2016

Except for wanting to breastfeed more often, most babies do not eat much when sick.

“The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two” by William Sears, Martha Sears, Robert Sears, James Sears
from The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two
by William Sears, Martha Sears, et. al.
Little, Brown, 2008

Breastfeeding can continue through the illness period.

“Paediatric Nursing in Australia: Principles for practice” by Jennifer Fraser, Donna Waters, Elizabeth Forster, Nicola Brown
from Paediatric Nursing in Australia: Principles for practice
by Jennifer Fraser, Donna Waters, et. al.
Cambridge University Press, 2014

When you come down with a minor illness such as a cold or flu, you need not interrupt breastfeeding.

“The Nursing Mother's Companion, 7th Edition, with New Illustrations: The Breastfeeding Book Mothers Trust, from Pregnancy Through Weaning” by Kathleen Huggins
from The Nursing Mother’s Companion, 7th Edition, with New Illustrations: The Breastfeeding Book Mothers Trust, from Pregnancy Through Weaning
by Kathleen Huggins
Harvard Common Press, 2017

By the way, it’s fine to continue nursing your baby while you’re sick; in fact, breastfeeding strengthens your baby’s immune system.

“What To Expect The 1st Year [rev Edition]” by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
from What To Expect The 1st Year [rev Edition]
by Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel
Simon & Schuster UK, 2010

• Tells you that you must stop breastfeeding because you or your baby is sick, because you will be taking medicine, or because you will have a medical test done.

“Counseling the Nursing Mother” by Judith Lauwers, Anna Swisher
from Counseling the Nursing Mother
by Judith Lauwers, Anna Swisher
Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2015

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +1 (877) 492-3666

Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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4 comments

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  • When i had the postpartum sepsis they wouldn’t let me nurse Hunter, they didn’t have donor milk or supply a pump for me to pump and dump during my extended stay. I was so crushed. Thankfully my friend brought me a hand pump and he latched with no issues after.

  • I have a premie who uses a nipple guard. Will my milk still help him if I mostly pump and use the nipple guard a couple times a day? I’m coming down with something and I’m so worried he will get it. He just came home from the NICU a few days ago.

  • I haven’t been wearing a mask while breastfeeding and the dad is sick as well, does that mean my baby will 100% will get sick? I’m crying everyday thinking I’m going to get her sick because I have to be with her all the time because her dad is sick as well

  • I have a question and I should’ve asked my doctor but I was in my seventh month of breatfeeding my daughter when I came down with the flu. I was taking Advil only at the time and I decided to just pump and feed her that way while I was sick. But when I pumped, my milk was straight up blue. Like blue blue. I got freaked out and instead of asking my doctor, I stopped pumping and breast feeding all together. If you have any clue of why it was blue, please enlighten me. Thanks so much. Love your videos. ��✨