Being sick is never fun, but being a breastfeeding mom while sick is even worse. Some women may think that it’s ok to skip breastfeeding while sick, but the truth of the matter is that you shouldn’t. If you don’t breastfeed, you will be depriving your baby of much needed antibodies and nutrition.
Is It Really Safe?
If you are getting sick you can take medicine to help you feel better. It doesn’t matter if it’s a common cold or flu or even a stomach virus. These will have no effect on your breast milk. If your illness gets unbearable, you can visit your doctor and they can prescribe you medicine that will be compatible for feeding.
Having a contagious illness may require extra precaution. You may want to cover the baby’s face with a cloth while feeding, to avoid exposure, or pump the breast milk and have your spouse feed the baby from a bottle. The one thing to understand is that your illness cannot be transmitted through your breast milk and your milk can actually prevent them from getting sick due to the illness’ antibodies being present.
Drink Lots of Water and Take Other Precautions
One thing to keep in mind, when sick, is to stay hydrated. It’s going to take a lot out of you to breastfeed when sick, so consume lots of water. Not being hydrated may result in a lack of milk production, so make sure that you drink at least eight glasses of water daily.
Also, make sure that you wash your hands frequently and avoid too much face-to-face contact. If you are too sick to muster the strength and get up when it’s time to feed the baby, try having an older child or your spouse to watch the baby and bring them in when it’s time to eat. If you’re that sick, you probably won’t even notice when they come in and out.
There are only a few reasons that you should not breastfeed your baby. The first is if you cannot avoid taking a medication that is not compatible with your baby or if your baby is under a month old. Babies that are under one month old are very vulnerable to getting sick, so you will want to avoid being near the baby when you have contracted a virus.
Also, if you have HIV or other infection that is carried in the bloodstream you will want to avoid breastfeeding at all times. Other than that, breastfeeding is the best thing you can do when you’re sick. It ensures that your baby’s immune system gets built up and, if they do happen to catch your cold, they will get over it faster than you do.