Is breastfeeding when sick recommended?
Breastfeeding is an important way for mums to nourish and bond with their babies, but what happens when a mother becomes sick? It’s a common concern for nursing mothers who worry about how their illness may affect their baby or their breastfeeding ability. That’s why it’s important to know how to safely continue breastfeeding while under the weather.
This article will provide tips and guidance for breastfeeding moms who feel sick to maintain their milk supply and keep their babies healthy.
When Is Breastfeeding When Sick Okay and When It’s Not?
Breastfeeding is generally safe and beneficial for babies, even when their mother is sick. Breast milk contains antibodies that can help protect babies from illness and even help them recover more quickly if they become sick.
However, there are certain situations where breastfeeding when sick may not be okay. For example, if a mum is infected with a highly contagious illness, it may be necessary to take precautions to prevent the spread of the infection to her baby.
Additionally, if a woman is taking certain medications that may harm her baby, she may need to temporarily stop breastfeeding or switch to a different medication.
In general, though, it’s recommended that mothers continue breastfeeding when sick as long as they take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of infection to their babies. This may include wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and avoiding close contact with their baby when possible.
Breastfeeding mums need to talk to their healthcare provider or a lactation consultant if they have questions or concerns about breastfeeding when sick, as every situation is different. However, most mums can safely continue breastfeeding when sick with the right guidance and precautions.
Can I Continue Breastfeeding With a Cold
Image Source: iStock
Yes, in most cases, you can continue breastfeeding when you have a cold. The common cold is caused by a viral infection and is generally not transmitted through breast milk. Breast milk contains antibodies that can help protect your baby from getting sick.
It is important to practice good hygiene to reduce the risk of passing the virus on to your baby. This includes washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. You may also consider wearing a mask while breastfeeding, especially if your baby is a newborn or has a weakened immune system.
If you are taking medication for your cold, consult your healthcare provider to ensure it is safe while breastfeeding. Some over-the-counter cold medications can reduce milk supply or have other adverse effects on breastfeeding.
Your milk supply may temporarily decrease if you have a fever or severe illness. It is important to stay hydrated and rest as much as possible to help your body fight the infection and maintain your milk supply. If you are concerned about your milk supply or breastfeeding ability, you can consult with a lactation consultant or healthcare provider.
Can I Breastfeed If I Have a Fever
If you have a fever, it is still generally safe to breastfeed your baby. Breast milk contains antibodies that can help protect your baby from getting sick. However, it is important to take precautions to avoid spreading the illness to your baby.
If you have a fever, your milk supply may temporarily decrease. It is important to stay hydrated and rest as much as possible to help your body fight the infection and maintain your milk supply. You can continue breastfeeding frequently, as this will help stimulate milk production.
The same hygiene guidelines mentioned above should be observed to reduce the risk of passing the infection to your baby.
You should consult your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your breastfeeding ability or your baby’s health. They can help you determine if there are any special precautions you should take or if it is safe to continue breastfeeding when down with a fever.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend temporarily expressing milk and having someone else feed your baby with a bottle.
Tips for Breastfeeding When Sick
Breastfeeding while sick can be challenging, but with a few tips and precautions, it can be done safely and successfully. Here are some practical tips for moms who are nursing while sick:
It is essential to stay hydrated while breastfeeding, but even more so when you are sick. Drinking fluids such as water, herbal teas, and electrolyte solutions can help maintain your milk supply and promote healing.
To prevent the spread of illness to your baby, it is essential to practice good hygiene. This includes washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and wearing a mask while breastfeeding.
Rest is crucial for your body to recover from illness. Try to rest as much as possible, even if it means asking for help with household chores or childcare.
Image Source: iStock
Get Medical Attention if Needed
If your symptoms are severe or you are concerned about your health, seek medical attention from your healthcare provider. They can advise you on the best course of treatment while breastfeeding.
Taking care of yourself is essential when breastfeeding while sick. Eating nutritious foods, taking warm baths, and getting plenty of sleep can help speed up your recovery.
Express Milk if Necessary
If you are too sick to breastfeed or are concerned about passing the illness to your baby, you can express milk and have someone else feed your baby with a bottle.
Consult with a Lactation Consultant
If you are experiencing challenges with breastfeeding while sick, a lactation consultant can help. They can advise on maintaining your milk supply and ensuring your baby gets enough.
Remember, taking care of yourself is crucial when breastfeeding while sick. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help or seek medical attention if needed. With the right precautions and self-care, you can continue breastfeeding your baby while recovering from illness.
Breast Milk Fights Infection: A Mum’s Experience
On some days your breast milk looks white and watery. On other days it looks more yellow and thick. You run into panic only to call your lactation consultation who then reassures you that all is well. Well, all is indeed well. In fact, more than well, for did you know that breast milk helps fight infection?
The milk changes its composition to suit your baby’s needs and that’s pretty much why the colour and texture change all the time! Pretty amazing isn’t it?
Top milk is when her baby was healthy, bottom is from pumping after nursing her baby with a fever all night | Image source: Facebook / Ashlee Chase
In her Facebook post, mum Ashlee Chase shared a picture of the breast milk she pumped before and after her daughter’s fever. Before her daughter had a fever, the milk was white as it usually is. However, the milk that she pumped later appeared to be yellow. She pumped milk after feeding her sick baby through the night.
Ashlee told Yahoo Lifestyle that she initially fretted, thinking something was wrong with her milk. She called up her child’s paediatrician, who then explained to her that all was well. The yellow hue in her breast milk was from the extra fat and antibodies her body was producing to cure her baby of her fever!
If you’re wondering how it happens, here’s the science behind it. Scientists believe that this boils down to backwash. What on earth is that?
Backwash is the little bit of a nursing baby’s saliva that goes back into the mother’s nipple during breastfeeding. This saliva sends signals to the mother’s body.
So while breastmilk usually contains low levels of leukocytes (white blood cells that fight infection), these levels escalate rapidly when the mother or nursing baby is sick. When the illness passes, the levels go back to normal.
Ashlee captioned the picture as such,
“Why do you still let your 7 month old nurse?” “she’s too old” “she’s just using you as a pacifier” “you need to put her in her own bed”. 100% why. Top milk is from 3 days ago when a healthy Elliot was nursing. Bottom is from today, after sick Elliot with a fever comfort nursed all night. This.
Need we say more?
This is similar to how it works when nursing mums fall sick. Many nursing mums wonder if they can continue breastfeeding if they are down with a fever or common cold. They worry about passing the germs to their baby. Because breastmilk fights infection, mums don’t have to worry about this.
This is how it works. Before you knew you were sick, your baby would have been exposed to the illness. This is because the virus’ potency starts even before you show symptoms. When your baby is exposed to it, your body starts working to create antibodies specific to your illness (and any other virus that your baby has been exposed to).
This helps to prevent the baby from falling ill, and even if they do, they won’t get it as bad as you. Have you ever noticed that a breastfeeding infant in the house doesn’t fall ill even if everyone at home is sick?
The only thing you need to worry about is the medication that you are on. Some medications may cause your milk supply to decrease or may be incompatible with nursing so you need to let your doctor know that you are nursing.
A mother rarely needs to stop breastfeeding due to an illness. HIV and HTLV-1 are the only infectious diseases that would require you to stop breastfeeding.
Just how amazing is the human body?
If you’re still wondering whether it is safe for you to breastfeed your baby while battling your disease, do not hesitate to consult your doctor or your child’s paediatrician.
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.