If you’re feeling unwell, you may be worried about whether it’s safe to continue breastfeeding your baby. Many mamas worry that perhaps they shouldn’t feed their baby when they’re ill. However, in reality, there are very few instances in which illness may require you to stop breastfeeding your child (e.g. HIV, active tuberculosis, HTLV-1, HTLV-2).
Assuming you aren’t suffering from any of these conditions, you should be fine to continue breastfeeding your baby for the duration of the illness.
Will breastfeeding make my baby sick?
If you’re suffering from a cold or flu illness, you may worry about whether your breast milk will contain the virus. It won’t, so don’t worry. Not only that, because your milk contains the antibodies your body is busy producing to fight the infection, your baby will actually get this extra boost of immunity to protect her from the illness.
Do I need to take any precautions?
If you are prescribed medication to treat the illness, make sure you tell the doctor that you’re breastfeeding. Your doctor will need to check that the medication he or she prescribes is suitable for breastfeeding mothers. Most medication is suitable for breastfeeding mothers, but it’s always worth checking just in case.
If you have a sickness and diarrhoea bug, you need to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. It’s easy to become dehydrated, especially when you’re breastfeeding, so make sure you keep your fluid levels up.
To minimize the risk of your baby getting ill, take the usual precautions. Wash your hands often, cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, and try not to kiss your baby near the mouth.
If you’re feeling rubbish, it’s important to take care of yourself and allow yourself time to rest. If you’re really unwell, you might need somebody else to stay home and help with the baby. That will give you the opportunity to get some sleep between feeds, and put someone else in charge of diaper changes for a little while. If your partner is unable to take the day off work, ask a family member or friend to pop round for a few hours and help out.
Remember to keep breastfeeding on demand, a drastic reductions in the number of feeds each day could begin to affect your supply.
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2016. All rights reserved.