Winter and its cold temperatures being upon us, you may wonder how being sick can affect breastfeeding. Our first advice: stay calm. In most cases, breastfeeding while being sick is actually good for your baby. But sometimes, a consultation with your doctor or pediatrician might help you take the right decisions.
Baby is sick? Discover our advice to cope with it and how breastfeeding can actually benefit both of you!
What if mommy gets sick during breastfeeding?
The benefits of breastfeeding when being sick
You got sick during breastfeeding and you are scared for your baby? No problem, stay calm!
Diseases are the source of many worries for moms: you might be afraid of contaminating your baby and you may wonder what you can do to prevent it. But nursing when you are sick actually offers a lot of benefits for you and for your baby!
Flu, angina, cold, enteritis or bronchitis are common diseases, particularly during cold seasons. In this situation, breastfeeding will protect baby against diseases. How? Your body will produce antibodies to fight against the virus. These antibodies will then be transmitted to your baby though your milk. Therefore, your antibodies will help your baby’s immune system to fight against contamination.
Some of the diseases listed above may dehydrate you, which you must prevent as hydration and breastfeeding go together.
Thanks to breastfeeding, baby will even be protected after you are cured, and his body will recover more rapidly and easily all along his life! Do not forget that a sudden interruption of breastfeeding can cause a stressful sensation for baby.
In some situation, your tiredness or the pain will force you to stop breastfeeding. If you can, do not stop! Baby will continue receiving your antibodies and will stay immunize against the virus you carry! On your side, going on breastfeeding will prevent clogging and breast infection!
How to keep on breastfeeding and keep off contaminating your child
Even if baby is protected from your disease thanks to your milk, it is necessary to take caution until the healing! Respect some hygiene rules: wash your hands before holding or touching your baby, reduce salivary contacts with your child. Cough or sneeze away from him, preferably in a tissue!
Also, drink and stay hydrated, keep on a normal diet. And, most importantly, get as much rest as possible. Do not hesitate to ask for help if you need to!
Ask your doctor before taking any medecine
In case of heavy pain, you might be tempted to take painkillers or other medicine. It is only normal but remember that some treatments might affect your baby. Your doctor will help you make the most appropriate choices.
In lots of situation, paracetamol or ibuprofen are compatible with breastfeeding. Check the dosage with your doctor prior anything! Be careful, do not take decision yourself, be sure of its effect on your body and on baby’s.
In which situation is it necessary to stop breastfeeding?
Unfortunately, in some cases, you will be forced to stop breastfeeding. Before doing so, ask your doctor!
Some symptoms will have you stop for a few days and others will have you stop a bit longer.
Chickenpox, HIV, chemotherapy or urinary infection, for example, are dangerous diseases for baby and are incompatible with breastfeeding.
If you need to stop breastfeeding during an hospitalization or a long treatment, the right option might be to pump and freeze your milk so baby can still be fed with maternal milk while you’re away. If possible, you might want to keep on feeding baby even while at the hospital. Although this can be difficult to negotiate with the nursing staff. After a surgical operation you can start breastfeeding again!
What if baby gets sick?
Can one breastfeed an ill baby?
If your baby gets sick, our advice would be the same as above: keep on breastfeeding! As explained above, your milk will reinforce your baby’s immune system and help him/her fight efficiently against germs. It will also help him/her recover more rapidly and easily in the future. Moreover, your child will keep his/her habits. Being sick AND not being breastfed would be too much for a tiny human.
Your milk is your baby’s medicine!
What if baby does not suckle?
Who says disease says tiredness and weakness. In some situations, baby will not have enough energy and/or will not wanted to suckle. To avoid dehydration, you can seek the help of a lactation consultant or a doctor specialized in breastfeeding. They can both give you good advice adapted for your baby’s specific case!