Is it safe to breastfeed if I am feeling sick

Lyndsey - posted on 10/04/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )

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The other day I found out that my 2 & 1/2 wk old son has a slight stomach flu, at that point neither my husband or I was feeling sick or showed any symptoms of it. The doc told me to keep breastfeeding every 2 hrs to keep my son hydrated. But I woke up this morning and I am now starting to feel like I may have the flu (achy, nauseated, slight fever) and I am wondering if I should continue breastfeeding or stop???? Can the flu virus be passed through my milk?

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You shouldn't stop! Your body has natural medicine that helps him fight the sickness! It's the best thing for him. Keep it up!

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I breastfed when I had the flu and my daughter never got sick. So I don't think it passes through. Plus if he already had it he can't catch it again.

Breanna - posted on 10/04/2010

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Please keep breastfeeding! While we mom's need TLC when we're sick, breastfeeding is a MUST! I've been sick, had breast infections, and taken breastfeeding-safe antibiotics, and continued nursing throughout. This is definitely a great question, as we always worry about the health of our babies. Breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby, whether you're sick or not.

Micha - posted on 10/04/2010

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There are very few occassions, where it is not safe to breastfeed. You baby had the flu apparently, before you. Nonetheless, you will share you acquired antibodies with him. Especially, if he is weaker he needs the nutrients and the liquid of your breast milk mor. Please continue, as long you feel your self not too weak. It is the best for your baby.

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Hillary - posted on 10/12/2010

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It is okay to breast feed when you are sick. Just be careful if you are taking medication. Ask the doctor if it's safe to breast feed if you are taking anything.

Kristin - posted on 10/12/2010

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Carry on, you will pass along antibodies to your child. Just make sure that you are getting fluids yourself and maybe take a colace. I went through this with my second and got really uncomfortable due my dehydration.

Melissa - posted on 10/11/2010

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I did not read all the posts but my pediatrician told me that if I'm feeling bad then I should absolutely NOT stop BF... the baby gets antibodies from your breastmilk and will help them fight off the 'bugs' later when they come into contact! Keep BF it's best!

Rebecca - posted on 10/11/2010

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Your breastmilk will contain antiobodies that your son will recieve so YES keep nuirsing him while you are sick. You should never take something away from a child that provides comfort & familiarity. I am so glad you have a Dr that told you to keep nursing! So many recommend formula rather than working with a mother. Use tylenol for aches & pains. Do not use any cold medicine that you could not use while you were pregnant. Your breastmilk is the best thing for him & it gives you a chance to lay down and rest until you feel better.

Rebekah - posted on 10/11/2010

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Yes, continue breastfeeding... BUT, make sure to drink plenty and take care of yourself too. If you are throwing up every few hours, on top of nursing, your body will need a lot more calories and fluids. I ended up dehydrated and nearly lost my milk supply entirely when my daughter was about 4 months old when I got a 24 hour stomach virus.

Madichaba - posted on 10/11/2010

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I just had a bad sinus infection and had to be on antibiotic that was safe during breastfeeding, you must drink lots of liquids and vitamin c

Colleen - posted on 10/10/2010

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It (the flu virus) cannot be passed. Do NOT stop BF...it's the best thing for baby!! Unless you need to go on meds, and in that case tell your DR you are BF. It is safe to take Tylenol while BF as well, no asprin though.

Tania - posted on 10/10/2010

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Breasfeeding is hard work.. specially when your unwell. But it is safe for baby and beneficial to pass on the immunity. You will need to rest more, keep your fluids up and maintain your nutrition but it is totally workable. Just be careful on taking any flu medication.. check with your pharmacist first if it is safe in breastfeeding.

Gina - posted on 10/09/2010

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I might just add that if you are feeling achy, nauseated and have a slight fever this could also be mastitis. Your breasts will have a red patch or be hot and this will get worse quickly. Ring your dr straight away, don't wait, this could be mastitis, He/she will give you antibiotics immediately. Keep breastfeeding it is the best thing for it.

Gina - posted on 10/09/2010

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Keep breastfeeding. But if you get a bug with vomiting or the runs (can't spell the other) then make sure you keep up the fluids, this means every few minutes take a sip of water. I did not do this when I was sick because I just kept throwing up and I ended up passing out on the floor and had to go to hospital, I was extrememly dehydrated and had to have a drip. It didn't click in my head that the breastfeeding would take so much fluid out of me. But definitely keep breastfeeding.

Gretchen - posted on 10/09/2010

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Actually, the BEST thing for you to do is to breastfeed while sick. If he's sick, he'll give you the germs through the breast tissue. Your body will then make antibodies and give them to your son through your milk :) If you get sick, you pass both germs and antibodies to your son. It helps him build immunity, and honestly, the one who gets sick first has exposed the other LONG before symptoms show because of the incubation period. Isn't the system awesome????

Yelena - posted on 10/09/2010

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I was sick a number of times already with my now 7 month old son. The worst was over the summer when I had a 105 fever. Usually you tell the doctor that you are breast feeding so the medication they give you is safe for feeding and will not enter you baby's system. Also, just wear a mask to protect the baby from germs if you feel it is needed. Breast feeding offers your baby an immune system. It is often said that the baby is the only one who does not get sick or stays sick a lot less! So just keep doing what you are doing!!!

Sarah - posted on 10/09/2010

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Yes! Breastfeed! He's getting your antibodies, which can help reduce his risk of infection :)

A - posted on 10/09/2010

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The best thing you can do when you are sick is breastfeed your child. If you are sick, your body will make antibodies for whatever it is you have, and pass those on to your child. This can prevent your child getting sick, or make it less severe if he/she does get whatever you have. Myself and my husband have been sick half a dozen times since my son has been born (including me being sick right now with a sore throat!!!) and my son has never gotten sick from one of us. As moms, we also pick up pathogens off of our babies skin and make antibodies for those as well, which is why breastfed babies on average are sick less often. If you stop breastfeeding you are actually putting your baby at higher risk of getting sick.

The only thing I've found difficult this week while I've been sick is to make sure I eat/drink enough so my son is getting his nutrients. I pretty much had to force myself to eat/drink because I lost my appetite when I got sick. That, on top of the fact that I didn't want to take any medications while i was sick because I don't like exposing my son to meds.

Keep up the breastfeeding!

Diane - posted on 10/09/2010

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Definintly keep breastfeeding, nursing while you are sick is what will keep baby from getting sick or in this case from getting too sick, it will also help him get better quicker. A sick baby will have more problems with solid foods or formula than a healthy baby, breastmilk is the mildest food there is so it's easier for a baby to keep down and digest (especially when sick) It's also how your baby receives antibodies that help fight illness.

Sarah - posted on 10/09/2010

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Yes, it is completely safe. He will not get a virus from your milk. Keep on nursing!!

Sarah Niska
www.4themoms.com

Dawn - posted on 10/09/2010

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Actually to my knowledge one of the benefits of breastfeeding is that your baby leaves the virus/bacteria/etc on your breast tissue so you start producing the antibodies for him next time he feeds.
I got everything my son got but felt reassured when I was breastfeeding as I always knew he was getting the best medicine and plenty of fluids from my milk.
Obviously if you take medication, check with the doctor, but I just mostly did without when he was little.
You're doing the best you can :)

Amy - posted on 10/09/2010

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It benefits your baby to breastfeed him when you or he are sick. You're caring for him closely anyway, and if he's going to get whatever virus is going around in your household he will, but by breastfeeding him and sharing antibodies he's more likely to either not get it at all or it will be less severe and of shorter duration.

Most medications are compatible with breastfeeding, by the way - and there are always alternatives if you're given one that isn't. Many packet labels have a standard disclaimer of 'do not use while breastfeeding' when they're probably quite safe. The Lactmed database is great for that: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/ht...

Jessica - posted on 10/06/2010

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Think about it this way: we've been breastfeeding our babies since the dawn of time, and they haven't all gotten the flu and died. That may sound silly, but seriously, the only times you shouldn't breastfeed is if you are on certain medications (most meds are safe, or you can get breatfeeding-safe versions) or if you have HIV AND are in an area where the water is safe, and that one's dubious. Unless you give up contact with your baby (which I hope you are not going to do!) he will get whatever you have anyway. So your best bet for keeping him healthy is to stay away from sick people yourself, and breastfeed, so that as your body makes antibodies to the virus, he will get them through your milk.
As Catherine said above, do watch out for any signs of mastitis, and get some antibiotics if you need them. (If the doctor tells you to wean because of mastitis, tell them to do some reading - the best cure for mastitis is to keep feeding!)
I hope you and your baby get well soon :)

Katey - posted on 10/05/2010

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Yeah it is safe to bf while you are sick , in facted it helps the baby not to get sick. Because your milk sents a message to the baby imsystem and tells it to start making white blood cells.

Catherine - posted on 10/04/2010

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In the vast majority of cases, it's fine to continue breastfeeding while sick. I would just add, however, that at one point I thought I had the flu while I was breastfeeding, and it turned out I actually had mastitis. It certainly may just be the flu, but I had a fever and body aches with the breast infection, so it's definitely something to look out for (if you have any clogged ducts, breast pain, or redness, that could be it). If it is mastitis, you can still breastfeed, and it's actually recommended to help clear the ducts.

April - posted on 10/04/2010

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it's safe to nurse while sick. if you go on medication, make sure it's breastfeeding-friendly. continue on breastfeeding! you are strengthening your son's immune system!

Minnie - posted on 10/04/2010

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That definitely can be worrying. The truth is, there are only a very few situations in which breastfeeding would be contraindicated. You should continue to breastfeed your baby.

It appears that your son has already had the virus- he has developed natural immunities to it- and you are a family- you all are exposed to it whether you breastfeed or not.

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