Breastfeeding With A Cold or Flu

March 27, 2012
Breastfeeding With A Cold or Flu

Being sick can really put a damper on your breastfeeding routine; however, in most cases, you can continue breastfeeding with the flu or a cold. So relax. There’s one less thing you need to worry about.

Why is it safe to continue breastfeeding while sick?

Breastmilk gives your baby the best protection against sickness. The protective antibodies it contains help your baby’s developing immune system fight off infection and illness. In most cases, if you have a contagious illness like a cold, flu or minor virus, your baby was exposed to it before you showed symptoms. So, just think you’re giving your baby the best chance to fight it off. On top of breastfeeding, make sure you still wash your hands often, avoid coughing or sneezing near them and put those kisses on hold for a few days (we know that can be tough).

When shouldn’t I continue breastfeeding?

Very few illnesses can be passed on through breastmilk, however it’s always best to check with your doctor to confirm. Some of these illnesses include HIV and septicemia (bacterial infection that has entered the bloodstream).

It’s important to note that not all medications to treat the cold and flu are compatible with breastfeeding. When speaking with your doctor, be sure to inform him or her of your wishes to continue breastfeeding. Also, contact your doctor before taking any new over-the-counter medications.

My supply dropped while I was sick. What can I do?

It is common for a mother’s supply to decrease while she’s ill, but typically it returns to normal once she is well. While you’re sick, continue to practice common tips to increase supply such as eating well, staying hydrated and pumping or breastfeeding often. This will help you maintain your supply throughout your sickness.

What was your experience breastfeeding with a cold or flu? Share in the comments below.

69 thoughts on “Breastfeeding With A Cold or Flu

  1. Help!!! I’m very sick, and have been having trouble letting down in the evening and in the beginning part of the night. What can I do to help me let down?

  2. I have had a very hard 4 days! I woke up With Masitis in the middle of the morning on Tuesday shirving uncontrolably I started taking a course of Antibodics as soon as I could. Tuesday night I woke up with hot sweats again as well as a hot itchy face and feeling like id been hit by a bus I looked in the mirror and sure I looked like a puffer fish I went to the doctors the next day to find out I was having an alegic reaction to the medicine and I also had a flu as well as mastitis (my husband woke up Wednesday morning with hot & cold sweats and flu symptoms as well that’s how the doctor knew it wasn’t just masitis symptoms making me feel so horrible) my pain in my Breast starting feeling better and my swollen face eased off but by Thursday my 7 week old baby was becoming unsettled and it just got worse as the evening progressed she normally cluster feeds and cat naps between 4-8 and sleeps till 5.30am but she was waking screaming every 2 hours It was so hard hearing her scream as it sounded like she was in pain after I out ruled anything chances of her having the flu I thought maybe it was my Antibodics effecting her? I tried putting her on my boob repetitively and would hear normal gulping but then would pull of in frustration I then thought to express a bottle and barely got 60mls I can normally express 120mls on a unfeed side I gave her the bottle and she settled right down. The flu + mastitis had slowed my milk supply right down and bub was so hungry. I really don’t want to resort to formula so I need any little tips to get milk flow back up? I know I need to eat and drink more but in regards to pumping to get milk flow/supply back to normal how often do I need to do this?

    • Hi Monique,

      Sending warmth and strength your way! We suggest that you work with your healthcare provider or a Lactation Consultant, as they would be best suited to assist you. You can also find tips for increasing your milk supply in our blog here:

      Hope you’re feeling better!

    • Mastisis issue:pump a lot and massage while pumping while not actively feeding pump an additional 20 mins while massage and massage while baby is eating. Warm compress for 5 mins massage for 2 and repeat a few times. Also hot hot hot shower will help your head and breast and massage great while running warm water and last don’t give up! I had one and it was awful and I yelled at a lot of people! Lol

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