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.

37 thoughts on “Breastfeeding With A Cold or Flu

  1. Hello!

    Help needed! My 3 mo old daughter and i have both been sick with the stomach virus, she is finally getting better but I’m not yet. Im able to keep a little food and liquids down but my milk supply has dropped a lot. She’s exclusively bf. Ive been pumping also and am only getting 1 oz if that. Does that mean thats all she’s getting and will i lose my milk? Thank you! Stressed mommy here!

    • Hi Whitney,

      Hope you and your daughter are back to feeling 100%! Know that the amount of milk that you pump is not a good indicator of how much your baby can remove from your breasts. Here are tips for increasing your supply: http://bit.ly/OKmXVU. For more information on how the foods you eat impact your breastmilk, click here: http://bit.ly/1nBnPcV. Hope this helps!

      Kathy

    • Hey Whitney so did your milk supply come back eventually? I also caught the flu a few days ago and could barely keep food in my system and noticed my milk supply went down too. Kind of worried that my 7month old isn’t getting enough to eat, the good thing is she now willing to eat more of the oatmeal cereal that I been trying for a month to get her to like.. Let me know if yours come back and what did you do. Thanks

  2. I think I have the flu. I woke up in the middle of the night to pump like I normally do but was unable to produce. What does this mean and what should I do to increase my production? Will my 7 mos old be able to get anything out if I put him on the boob?

    • Hi Kat,

      Sorry to hear that you’re feeling ill and weren’t responding to your pump last night. Here are tips for boosting your supply: http://bit.ly/OhVhYm. Try your best to stay hydrated and pump or breastfeed frequently. The amount of milk you pump isn’t a good indication of how much milk you’re producing or how much your baby can remove at the breast. If you have any further questions, our Lactation Consultant can help: http://bit.ly/AsktheLC

      Hope you feel better soon!
      Kathy

  3. My husband is a teacher and today 4 of his 6 students got send home with flu plus strep throat. I have a three month old baby and a two year old, should I be worried? What can I do to keep them well? I exclusively nurse the baby,.

    • Hi Ann,

      Hope everyone is staying healthy! The best thing you can do is just keep breastfeeding. Your breastmilk provides wonderful benefits for your baby’s immune system and health. Keep up the great work!

      Kathy

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