“Should I continue to breastfeed my baby even when I'm sick?"
This is a common concern among breastfeeding moms, and it’s a valid one.
After all, nursing moms are in close proximity to their babies throughout the day for prolonged periods. Is that much contact safe for a baby when the mom is ill?
Let’s find out!
We’ve looked into the mechanics behind breastfeeding before, including the communication between mom and baby’s immune systems during nursing sessions. If you haven’t read that blog post - click here for all the details! In short, as the baby nurses, the mother’s body is able to get a read on the baby’s current immune status. If a pathogen is detected, antibodies are produced and passed to the baby via breast milk to help fight those pathogens.
This intuitive system is important to remember when you consider how breastfeeding affects your baby when you as the mom are ill.
SO, WHAT NOW?
By the time you realize you are sick, you have 1) already exposed your baby to your germs, and 2) unbeknownst to you, your breast milk has come in clutch with the necessary antibodies to fight those germs! A smart and impressive system, indeed.
That means that with any common illness, not only are you totally safe to continue breastfeeding your baby, it’s actually in their best interest that you do so! Breast milk definitely earns it’s status as “liquid gold” when an ailment arises.
It is of course recommended to maintain normal hygiene protocol when sick: washing hands frequently and thoroughly as well as keeping your hands and face away from baby’s face. Wearing a mask during nursing sessions is also a good idea for limiting exposure.
So, are there any illnesses or diseases in which mothers are not recommended to continue breastfeeding? According to the CDC, there are only a few instances in which breastfeeding is contraindicated, and those include: HIV, HTLV-1/2 and the Ebola virus.
But down for the count with the flu?
Wake up with a cold?
Hacking up a lung?
KEEP ON NURSING, SISTER!
(Just remember to keep yourself well hydrated and only take breastfeeding-safe medications to protect your milk supply.)
And get well soon!
Wyatt's Maternity is the mother/baby branch of Wyatt's Pharmacy, specializing in getting breast pumps to you at no charge, through your insurance carrier. The process is simple - just fill out our online form here!
CDC.gov / https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-special-circumstances/contraindications-to-breastfeeding.html