Breastfeeding When You're Sick

Can You Breastfeed When Sick?

As a new mother, wanting the very best for your newborn is of utmost importance. You will go to the ends of the earth and back for that tiny person and there is no way on earth you would do anything to jeopardize your baby's health or welfare. You're a MOM.

Perhaps one of the most basic and important questions you have regarding your baby's health and wellness relates to breastfeeding. The question is: Is it safe to breastfeed my baby when I'm sick? And, what is the effect of medications on breastfeeding?

It is not only a very valid question and concern, it's an important question. Although we will address it here in this article, we do suggest that any concerns that are gnawing at you be taken directly to your caregiver for a face-to-face medical response.

Will My Baby Get Sick?

Many moms, particularly new moms, are worried that if they get sick their breast milk will be negatively affected. They ask: Will my baby get sick because I passed the illness on through nursing? The answer to that question is: Generally speaking, sick or not, the preferred method of feeding your baby continues to be breastfeeding. We'll explain.

If you become ill with almost any of the more common illnesses, like a cold or the flu, breastfeeding while you are sick is still safe and the best way to feed your baby. Whether you breastfeed or not, your baby is going to be exposed to your illness. But, your body creates antibodies to the illness when you are sick and you pass these antibodies along to your baby when you breastfeed. The upshot is that if the baby gets sick at all, it will likely be a much milder version of what you and anyone else in the house got. It's really not the sickness that is the big issue for nursing moms - it's the medications that are prescribed (or purchased over-the-counter) that can be the problem. If your illness is extremely serious, like an STD, HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, then it is important to discuss breastfeeding before the baby is born.

Usually, illness is transmitted through skin contact and secretions from the mouth and nose. Wash your hands often, avoid as much as possible face-to-face contact, and don't sneeze or cough directly onto your baby.

Table of Contents
1. Sick While Breastfeeding
2. Should I stop nursing?
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