Can You Breastfeed While Sick?

Mother breastfeeding her baby.

Can You Breastfeed While Sick?

Let’s talk about whether you can breastfeed while sick. It’s a topic that is often brought up when momma is not feeling well, and many nursing moms wonder if getting close to baby and nursing is the best idea. Many moms also question if limiting nursing sessions to avoid exposing their little ones to their germs is best.

Let’s take a closer look at what to do if you face the conundrum of to or not to breastfeed while sick.

Can You Breastfeed While Sick?

Moms, you can breathe a sigh of relief because the answer is yes, and not only can you, you should! Breastfeeding while you are sick is a great way to transfer important antibodies to your baby to help prevent them from catching the germ that you have. These antibodies can also help protect your little one and help them fight off the bug if they do happen to get sick.

Another thing to know is that while you are contagious, you are often most contagious even before symptoms appear. So, this means that baby was exposed to whatever germ you have before you even knew you were sick.

What About Medications and Breastfeeding?

While it’s okay to breastfeed while sick, one thing to keep in mind is the medication you may be taking to help combat your germ. Some medications are not great for breastfeeding mommas, while others are totally fine. When you are at the doctor, be sure to tell your physician that you are breastfeeding and ask if the prescribed medication/medications are “breastfeeding-friendly.” The good news is that there are plenty of medications that are safe to take, so be sure to talk to your doctor about your options, so you can feel better and take care of you, too!

How to Make Yourself More Comfortable if You Breastfeed While Sick

When you are sick, you may have very little energy, and just need to rest! A great way to breastfeed while sick is side-lying nursing. Lay baby in bed with you and nurse that way. Ideally have a loved one help you by bringing you baby whenever he or she is ready to feed, so you can get rest in between nursing sessions. This is also important to keep your milk supply up when you are sick without having to actually get out of bed.

You will also want to stay hydrated. Hydration is even more important when you are combatting an illness and ten times more important when you are breastfeeding and sick. Stay as hydrated as you can, and sip on some hot tea, or fruit infused water if plain water just doesn’t seem all that appealing.

Other Tips to Keep Baby Healthy

In addition to continuing to breastfeed when you are sick, here are some other steps you can take to keep baby healthy.

Hand Washing

Hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of infection. Be sure to wash your hands often, and especially after coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, and before holding or nursing your little one. This can mean a ton of hand washing, so to make your life easier, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer handy!

Wear a Mask While Nursing

While it may not be ideal, it’s a great way to help prevent the spread of germs, especially when you are in close contact with your baby. Wearing a mask to cover your nose and mouth when you are dealing with a more serious illness like the flu can be helpful.

Take Probiotics

Probiotics are excellent for immune health and can help support your immune system, and pass through your breastmilk to help give your baby a boost too.

Pump if Needed

If you are extremely sick, or in the hospital, you may need to pump and let someone else feed your baby. This is another great way to help pass antibodies to your little one without directly exposing them to your germs.

Getting sick is never fun, and being sick with a baby at home can be brutal! Remember to take care of yourself, rest as much as you can, and continue to breastfeed if possible to help provide your baby with some immune protection as well. A little rest and self-care for mom and some breastmilk for baby can have you on the mend before you know it, while also giving your baby the immune boost her or she needs to hopefully stay healthy at the same time.

About the Author /

Rebecca is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant who specializes in women's health, healthy recipe developer, content writer, and momma to two under two.

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