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Breastfeeding While Sick
November 24th, 2015

Breastfeeding When Sick

Many first time mothers worry about breastfeeding their baby when they are sick. Under most circumstances, there is no harm. In fact, with most illnesses such as the flu, cold, stomach virus, etc. you are contagious for several hours up to a few fays before you begin to notice any symptoms. Your baby will have already been exposed to whatever illness you have contracted before you eve know you are sick.

The good news is, your breast milk possesses anti-bodies that help your baby’s developing immune system  combat the illnesses you have been exposed to. Per Dr. Ruth Lawrence , Author of Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession, “ HIV and HTLV-1 are the only infectious diseases that are considered absolute contraindications to breastfeeding in developed countries.”

While breastfeeding when you are sick is typically safe, it is important to check the breastfeeding compatibility of any medications you are supplied. If you have a bacterial infection and need an antibiotic make sure you ask your doctor for a breastfeeding friendly antibiotic. In the event you have no other option but to take a medication that is not safe for nursing mothers, you should “pump and dump” your milk.

Successful breastfeeding relies on satisfying the law of supply and demand. The easiest way to do this is by using an electric breast pump. It is important that you continue to fully drain your breasts even though you will be throwing out the milk. If not, your milk supply will decrease. If you know in advance that you will be pumping and dumping you can use your breast milk to build up a milk supply that can be frozen for later use.

You should still try and prevent passing along an illness to your baby by taking the usual preventive measures such as thoroughly washing your hands, avoid sneezing/coughing near baby, and limiting face-to-face contact. It is easy for an under the weather nursing mother to get dehydrated.  Try and get as much rest as possible and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.

If your baby does become sick it is advised that you continue breastfeeding. The following are tips for when your baby is congested and having a hard time feeding:

  1. Keep baby in an upright position while nursing.
  2. Nurse as often as possible to ensure your baby is getting the most anti-bodies it can to help fight off the illness.
  3. Use saline drops and a rubber suction bulb to clear the baby’s nose prior to nursing.
  4. In a small room, run a vaporizer or humidifier.
  5. Boil a pot of water and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and let the fragrance permeate the room.
  6. Nurse in a steamy bathroom.

If you would like to order a breast pump so that you can easily build up a milk supply, Aeroflow Breastpumps can help. We can quickly and easily help you see if you qualify; simply complete our Qualify Through Insurance form today or call us at 1-844-867-9890. Our Breastpump Specialists will work directly with your healthcare provider and insurance company to determine your coverage and will contact you within 3-5 business days to discuss your pump options and shipment date.

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