Of course, we all know that breast milk is the most natural and healthy nutrition you can feed your growing baby. However, what should you do if you are a breastfeeding mom and you catch a cold? “Should I continue breastfeeding if I am sick?”
This is honestly, a very common question that breastfeeding moms ask when they start coming down with a cold or flu. Naturally, when you become sick you try to isolate yourself and stay away from other people to prevent them from getting sick.
But what do you do if you are exclusively breastfeeding your baby? Should you stop breastfeeding your baby until you are well again? These are all valid questions. And I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the answer.
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I am not a healthcare provider so please ask your doctor’s advice if you are sick. This page may contain affiliate links, however, I will never recommend anything that I do not believe in and use myself. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.
Can I Breastfeed My Baby While I’m Sick?
It has been recommended to breastfeed your baby (if you can) at least until their first birthday. And we all know that moms get sick just like everyone else.
So if you are a breastfeeding mom and you come down with a minor illness, you can and absolutely should keep breastfeeding your baby.
A few examples of minor illnesses that are safe to continue breastfeeding through are:
- a common cold
- a cough
- a fever
- the flu
- a sinus infection
- a sore throat
- a urinary tract infection or (UTI)
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Why It’s Important to Continue Breastfeeding When You’re Sick
As I said you should continue breastfeeding your baby while you are sick if you are experiencing a minor illness. Here is why.
First of all, breastfeeding is a supply and demand relationship so if you are not latching your baby onto your breast, your body thinks your baby doesn’t need the breast milk and will decrease your breast milk supply. And if you stop breastfeeding your baby for days or even weeks you will have a low breast milk supply when you are well again.
The second reason that it is crucial that you continue breastfeeding while you are sick is that your breast milk changes when you are sick. When a breastfeeding mom becomes ill her body starts producing antibodies. These antibodies are then passed through the mother’s breast milk and then to her baby.
By giving your baby the antibodies to the illness you have, your baby has a better chance of not getting sick. So honestly, it’s much more important that you continue breastfeeding to keep your baby safe from anything you both may be exposed to.
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Can My Baby Catch a Cold from Breastfeeding?
No. In fact, cold and flu viruses do not pass through breast milk.
However, certain bacterial infections can pass through breast milk so always talk with your doctor if you are sick while breastfeeding to ensure you don’t have a serious illness.
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How Can I Prevent Passing My Cold to My Baby?
Although colds and other common viruses do not pass through breast milk, your baby can catch them through contact such as kisses, being touched on the face, or even if you don’t cover your cough or sneeze.
So how can I prevent my baby from catching my illness?
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue every time you cough or sneeze. And then sanitize your hands afterward.
- Do NOT kiss your baby (germs from your mouth can get your baby sick).
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water after you cough, sneeze, or eat.
- Disinfectant all of your surfaces to prevent you and others from picking up germs on your hands and then touching your baby.
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What Cold Medicines Can I Take While Breastfeeding?
Can I take cold medicines while I am breastfeeding? Yes, but always check with your healthcare provider before taking any medications to ensure it will not affect your breastfeeding baby.
Could cold medicine affect my breast milk supply? Yes. Some cold medicines have ingredients that can cause a decrease in breast milk supply. Here is a great guide on cold medications that are safe to take while you are breastfeeding.
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Safe Remedies for Breastfeeding Moms
As a breastfeeding mom, being sick is miserable when you are needed to take care of your baby. Here are some helpful remedies to get you back on your feet.
- Keep hydrated. Even if you do nothing else, always keep your self hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Keeping yourself hydrated will help your body fight any virus you may have and is good for keeping your breast milk supply up.
- Get Plenty of Rest (when you can). Rest is certainly hard to come by for breastfeeding moms but do your best to take a nap when your baby naps to give your body the energy it needs to recover.
- Vitamin C. Give your body some extra vitamin C from foods, juices, and supplements to boost your immune system.
I personally have been sick while breastfeeding and continued to breastfeed with no problems. My son did not catch what I had and was happy to still breastfeed.