Breastfeeding While Sick

Low Milk Supply Jan 18, 2021

Sick and breastfeeding? Should a mother continue to breastfeed while ill?

Can Any Illnesses Be Passed via Your Breast Milk to Your Baby?

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 your baby that can help fight off the cold or flu.

These antibodies can actually benefit your baby right through life. Feeding your baby will be much easier, you won't need to make formula or wash bottles; you can lie down and breastfeed. Your milk is also always available and at the perfect temperature.

If your baby is premature, it is recommended that you pump your milk during this time, as a baby can easily be infected just by being in the same room.

Ask your doctor about safe medications taken while breastfeeding.

If you have flu while breastfeeding and are not feeling up to breastfeeding your baby, it would be best to pump your breast milk to prevent a low milk supply.

Breastfeeding while sick ~If your baby is not breastfed while you are sick, he/she is at greater risk of getting ill. Many times a breastfed baby is the only one in the family that doesn’t get sick, and will usually experience a very mild cold if he/she does get sick.


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 your baby.
  • Limit a lot of face-to-face contact like kissing.
Woman drinking tea.
Photo by Thandy Yung / Unsplash

Things for a Mother to Remember, if Breastfeeding While Sick…

  • Avoid medications such as 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 a mother rest.
  • Never wean abruptly, this will put you at risk of engorgement and mastitis. Babies also don’t handle abrupt weaning too well.
  • Eat well and sleep as much as she can.
  • Talk to your doctor about medications that are safe to take when breastfeeding while sick.

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Tracy Behr

A homeschooling mother of two, breastfeeding helper, and lover of all things natural!