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.

60 thoughts on “Breastfeeding With A Cold or Flu

  1. I have been having a running nose for 5 days and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Should I see a family doctor or OB GYN? Who will have better knowledge for treating a nursing mom?

    • Hi Jen,

      Hope you’re feeling better! Lactation Consultants are great resources for breastfeeding moms, but your OB/GYN and your family doctor should also have knowledge of medication safety and treatment options for you.


  2. Hi,
    I’m currently suffering with a cold I’m not majorly ill just a blocked nose and a bit of a chesty cough. My 7 week old seems to be feeding fine but I’m trying to pump as I need to go out but i don’t seem to be able to express much at all if anything.. Any advice?!

  3. Hi just wondered if someone can help me , I express full time and my milk has just completley slowed down I am not even gettin 2 ounce out and my baby had been taking 3 ounce what can I do ?

  4. Hello I’ve been ebf for almost 9 mths now. I have had strep throat with a very high fever for 4 days now. I’ve been trying to drink as much as possible but it seems my baby boy isn’t satisfied after nursing I’m so afraid my milk supply has dried up.

    • Hi Kelly,

      Sorry that you’re under the weather – we hope you’re feeling better! If you’re feeling ill, the best thing you can do in most cases is to keep breastfeeding. Try your best to stay hydrated and keep in mind that breastmilk is produced on a supply-and-demand basis. You can find tips for boosting supply here: Our Lactation Consultant would also be happy to help and is available for one-on-one tips via email:

      Have a nice weekend,

  5. Im currently breastfeeding and pumping my 4 month girl and im also currently sick to the point I dont feel like eating. But I drink alot of water and juice but somehow its not filling up with milk and I work full time so im trying to get milk but its not enough for her bottle and her is there any suggestions on how can I go about this

    • Hi Rachellynn,

      Hope you’re feeling better! It’s completely normal for your supply to fluctuate, especially if you’re feeling under the weather. We suggest that you work with your healthcare provider on developing a treatment plan, and keep breastfeeding and pumping as often as you can. Hang in there!


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