breastfeeding-when-youre-sickMany new moms ask if they can breastfeed when they are not feeling well. Good news! Even if you’re feeling crummy, in most situations, you can continue breastfeeding when you are sick.

Why is it safe to continue breastfeeding when I’m sick?

If you have a standard cold, flu, food poisoning, or stomach virus, there’s no reason to stop breastfeeding. You have probably exposed the baby to your illness the day before you began showing symptoms. Fortunately, you’ve also formed illness-fighting antibodies, which you give to your baby via breast milk.

When shouldn’t I continue breastfeeding?

If you don’t know what type of sickness you are experiencing, you’ll need to check in with your doctor. A few illnesses, such as HIV and septicemia, can be passed on through breast milk.

Will medicine affect my ability to breast feed?

Yes, make sure you avoid over-the-counter medications that contain pseudoephedrine. Consult your doctor before you take any over-the-counter medication. If need to go on medication that’s not suitable for breastfeeding, you can pump and dump your milk until you stop the medication. You can give your baby stored breast milk or formula in the meantime.

What can I do if my supply decreased when I was sick? 

It’s common for your milk to decrease while you’re ill, but it should return to normal once you’re well. While you’re sick, continue taking care of yourself and your milk supply by eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains, drinking water, and pumping or breastfeeding frequently. This will help you continue your supply throughout your sickness.

What else can I do?

While you’re sick, drinking fluids, especially water, juice, and herbal teas, is essential you helping you feel better soon. As you increase your hydration, your milk supply will also increase Always wash your hands before picking up your baby and before breastfeeding. Avoid sneezing or coughing near your baby. And as hard as it is, stop kissing your little one until you’re better.