55 answers

I'm Sick, Can I Still Breastfeed? - South Lake Tahoe,CA

I have come down with a cold or maybe it's the flu, but I'm wondering if it's still safe to breastfeed my 4 month old while I'm sick, or should I be using some of the expressed milk I've frozen in the past - I don't have very much at all. Will I pass my cold/flu on to my daughter while breastfeeding? It's so hard being a first time mom - always so many questions! Thanks in advance!

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You can breastfeed through a cold. You do have to be careful about any medication you take though. I really recommend Parenting and Breastfeeding Services. They have lactation consultants that have invaluable knowledge and experience. They have supported me through two very different little ones. http://www.parentingandbreastfeeding.com/

1 mom found this helpful

I had a cold while breastfeeding my newborn. My midwife advised me to keep breastfeeding and not worry about it. The baby gets a big dose of antibodies. My son never did get my cold.

Hi A.,
Sorry you're sick! Continue to breastfeed. I had the flu and doc said it actually builds the baby's immune system. I hope someone is giving you extra help so you can rest and feel better. Take care!

More Answers

Hi A.-
As always, if you have health concerns, it is best to ask your doctor or whomever you seek guidance from. But here is what I experienced and take it for what it's worth:

-I had a terrible flu which I first thought was food poisoning (but was very very dizzy too). An ER nurse said don't feed my baby (which listening to my baby cry from hunger and not being able to do anything as I was out of control, at a friend's home, couldn't drive, etc- was the worse thing I have ever experienced). My midwife then got back to me and said it was fine. So I breastfed and my daughter never ever got sick. I have been sick a few times since then and have breastfed through them all. She has been very very healthy throughout it all, never contracting anything. But you need to go with what feels right to you. As always, contact your trusted health practitioner if you have questions. Also, Dr. Sears' BABY BOOK is a great resource that goes into detail about a lot of things, especially this. He is a pediatrician but has a more open approach. If you want a great alternative book. Aviva Romm's NATURALLY HEALTHY BABIES AND CHILDREN is a really great resource too. Good luck and hope you feel better!

(PS- Oh, and if you can get your partner to do a lot of things while you are sick, including taking care of your baby, it is best as it will expedite your healing time. Even the first day you start to feel better, just rest. It will cut that lingering cold down a lot). Happy healing!

2 moms found this helpful

YES! Still breast feed so your baby will get your antibodies and not get sick too! www.kellymom.com and La Leche League's website are great resources for breast feeding questions. LLL makes a great book called "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" - very helpful, in case you think your supply get low, or you get plugged ducts, etc.

1 mom found this helpful

it's absolutely safe and the best thing for your baby's immune system so keep on nursing!! it will actually help her from getting sick. good luck and i hope you feel better soon.

1 mom found this helpful

You can breastfeed through a cold. You do have to be careful about any medication you take though. I really recommend Parenting and Breastfeeding Services. They have lactation consultants that have invaluable knowledge and experience. They have supported me through two very different little ones. http://www.parentingandbreastfeeding.com/

1 mom found this helpful

NO, you cannot communicate a cold or flu through breast milk - if that were so, babies would be going hungry and starving to death every time a nursing mother caught a little bug! If she does get sick, it is because she has caught the virus from you via airborne particles.
Wash your hands OFTEN, and before you touch her - but chances are, she will get sick as she has to be held to you to breast feed and is breathing the "contaminated" breath as you breathe, and nurse.

Hi there,

Keep up the good work breastfeeding! I had a bad stomach flu (ick!) when my daughter was a few months old, and kept right on breastfeeding. My daughter never got sick. Hope you feel better very soon! The worst part is being sick and not being able to take a break. Hang in there, and take care of yourself. :)

H.

A.,

Breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your little one! Our bodies produce antibodies when we're sick to fight off germs and bugs. Babies bodies don't produce them like we do, but she'll get your antibodies through your breastmilk .

There's a great website that has kept me breastfeeding sane many times: http://www.kellymom.com/ . It has answers for everything and a great forum. Good luck and feel better!

You can absolutely continue breastfeeding, and if anything it will make your daughter healthier. You have a greater chance of passing your virus to her through the air you share than through your milk. However, you have a good chance of passing your antibodies to her through your milk, giving her a sturdier immune system. Go for it, it will also make you feel better - the oxytocin from breastfeeding will counteract the yucky flu doldrums.

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