Breastfeeding A Sick Baby

When breastfeeding a sick baby remember, IF BABY CAN DRINK ANYTHING, HE SHOULD BE DRINKING BREAST MILK.

Should I continue to breastfeed if my baby is sick?

Definitely, 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 part of baby’s healing process.


Things that your baby will be getting if you continue to breastfeed… - Antibodies that actually fight the infection and will help baby heal faster - Hydration through fluids ~ Breast milk will help keep baby well hydrated. - Nutrients that are absorbed faster than any other. - Comfort during nursing

Congestion (baby is struggling to breathe while breastfeeding)

Here are a few suggestions…

- Nurse as often as possible. This will ensure that baby is getting in enough milk and protective antibodies that will get rid of the cold quicker.

- If a sick breastfeeding baby has an ear infection it could help a lot if mom carried him in a sling during

the day so that the mucus can run out freely. Read more on all the benefits of baby wearing.

- Breastfeed baby in an upright or semi-reclined position. This will ensure that baby’s airway stays open more easily, allowing him to breathe with no trouble.

- Use saline drops or a few drops of breast milk. Put them in a dropper and put two drops in baby’s nose, let it sit for a minute or two, then use a rubber suction bulb to suction some of the mucus out of baby’s nose. This should always be done before baby nurses, not afterward as baby might spit up if you do it after he has breastfed.

- Close the door and put a humidifier on. This should open baby’s passages enough for a good breastfeeding session. Mom can also boil some water and add some essential oils that can help open up nasal passages. NEVER PUT ANY MENTHOL OILS OR LOTIONS DIRECTLY ON BABY’S FACE. This could make the breathing problems worse.

What if baby is refusing to breastfeed

This can occur if baby has a sore throat or ear infection which makes it difficult for him to nurse. Here are some suggestions on breastfeeding a sick baby who is refusing to breastfeed…

- Also breastfeed in an upright or reclined position.

- If baby is refusing to breastfeed you can use an alternative feeding method like cup feeding.

- Try giving your baby your milk as an icicle

- Mix your breast milk with all baby’s foods if baby is older than six months.

- Read more on breast refusal

What if baby has diarrhea or is vomiting

- Breastfeed exclusively, this will help give baby as many nutrients and antibodies as possible. Breastfeeding has also been found to keep babies well hydrated.

- Breastfeed more often, but for short intervals at a time so that baby can absorb the milk instead of spitting it up.

- Sometimes moms are advised to stop breastfeeding because they see her breast milk as a dairy product. BUT breast milk is actually not considered as a dairy product…it is completely different to cow milk.

Read more about normal stools in the breastfed infant

What if a breastfeeding sick baby is unable to nurse?

- Mom can try cup feeding, feeding with a syringe or spoon or finger feeding baby her expressed breast milk. Read more on alternative feeding methods here.

- Mom will need to pump often as to avoid engorgement and also to avoid her milk from decreasing.

Top of “breastfeeding a sick baby” page


Other pages on “breastfeeding problems” in connection with this page on “breastfeeding a sick baby

- Jaundice and breastfeeding.

- Breastfeeding a premature baby.

- Breastfeeding when mom is sick.

- Spitting up in the breastfed infant.

- Cystic Fibrosis and breastfeeding.

- Stuffy nose babies.

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Site by BFeeding Mamma, Tracy Behr, Studying through Child birth international (CBC, CBD), Author and Mommy of two.