Breastfeeding while sick
Sick and breastfeeding? Should mom continue breastfeeding when sick?
Can any illnesses be passed through your breast milk…
1. Should I breastfeed If I have a cold, flu or fever?
Breastfeeding while you are sick is actually preferred against not breastfeeding while sick. Whether you breastfeed or not your baby will be exposed to your germs, but when you breastfeed antibodies are transferred to baby that can help fight off the cold or flu.
These antibodies can actually benefit baby right through his life. The other benefit is that feeding baby will be much easier as mom doesn’t need to make formula or wash bottles…she can lie down and breastfeed. Your milk is also always available and at the perfect temperature.
If baby is younger than three weeks it is recommended that mom pumps her milk during this time, as baby can easily be infected just by being in the same room. This is especially true for premature infants.
Make sure you talk to your doctor about safe medications taken while breastfeeding.
If mom is vomiting or has diarrhea she will need to drink plenty of liquids so that she doesn’t become dehydrated.
If you have flu while breastfeeding and are not feeling up to feeding baby, it would be best to pump your breast milk during this time to keep up your milk supply…
~ Breastfeeding while sick ~
If baby is not breastfed while you are sick he has a bigger chance of getting ill. Many times a breastfed baby is the only one in the family that doesn’t get sick…and will usually have a very mild cold if he does get sick.
2. Breastfeeding while sick with a mental illness like depression?
3. Breastfeeding with HIV “Aids” ?
4. Breastfeeding with mastitis “breast infection” ?
5. Breastfeeding with food poisoning?
Breastfeeding can continue with food poisoning if mom is only vomiting has diarrhea or stomach cramps. In the case of the food poisoning passing into moms bloodstream mom will need to be hospitalized and probably won't feel up to breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding with stomach flu can also not harm baby in any way.
6. Breastfeeding with cancer?
- Baby can continue to breastfeed with X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds and cat scans and mammograms.
- Mom will need to wean baby temporarily with radioactive isotope testing
7. Breastfeeding with Herpes Simplex I (cold sores) and/or Herpes Simplex II (Genital Herpes)?
Genital sores can infect your breast. If mom has herpes sores on her breast she can pump and dump the milk from that breast until the sores dry up.
Mom should wash her hands often and keep from kissing baby if she has sores on her mouth.
8. Breastfeeding with Hepatitis A,B and C ?
Mom can continue to breastfeed if she has hepatitis A as this cannot be transmitted through breast milk, but is transmitted through blood and fecal matter. With Hepatitis B or C moms can also continue to nurse as baby is vaccinated against it.
9. Breastfeeding with STDs?
Moms with Sexually transmitted Disease can continue to breastfeed but precaution should be taken if sores are present.
10. Breastfeeding with PCOS?
- Yes a diabetic mom should breastfeed
- Baby has a lower chance of getting diabetes if he is breastfed
- Diabetic breastfeeding moms have a higher risk of mastitis… read more on how to treat mastitis here
12. Breastfeeding with an under active thyroid?
13. Breastfeeding with an overactive thyroid?
Your doctor might need to put baby on medications or mom will need to wean baby
14. Breastfeeding when going for surgery ?
Yes, mom can continue to nurse or pump during this time. Let your anesthetist know that you are breastfeeding.
How to avoid baby from getting sick while breastfeeding with flu …
- Avoid breathing and coughing on your baby when breastfeeding while sick
- Wash your hands before handling baby
- Limit a lot of face-to-face contact like kissing
Things for a breastfeeding sick mother to remember…
- Don’t take medications like antihistamines that can decrease milk supply
- Drink plenty of fluids to decrease dehydration and keep your milk supply up
- Lying down when sick and breastfeeding can help mom rest.
- A breastfeeding sick mom should eat well and sleep as much as she can
- Talk to your doctor about medications that are safe to take when breastfeeding while sick
Read our page on breastfeeding and medication
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