Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What to do when you’re sick and breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is both an incredibly special opportunity and an enormous responsibility for mothers. However, when mom’s start to feel run down, they often wonder if they should still be breastfeeding their baby even though they are sick.

However, as the sole source of your child’s nourishment during these
important early years, mothers must also be careful to eat a balanced diet and avoid potential toxins that could be transferred through breast milk. This can be difficult when a mother gets sick because it is harder to separate the safe medicines from those that could be harmful.



Don’t let normal illnesses get in the way


Generally, it is safe for mothers to continue breastfeeding when they become ill with common sicknesses such as a cold, flu, fever, or stomach bug. The baby has already been exposed to the virus during the time spent together nursing.

Your body makes antibodies to the illness that can be passed to the baby through your breast milk, so it is a good opportunity to build the little one’s immune system. However, you will want to be careful when selecting medicines to alleviate your symptoms.



Keep the following tips in mind, and of course, if you have any questions, ask your doctor.



  • Avoid long-lasting formulas that will stay in your body and your breast milk longer than necessary

  • Skip the extra-strength option, it has more of the active ingredient

  • Treat only the symptoms you have rather than taking a multi-symptom medication

  • Take the medication after you breastfeed and only as often as you need it


If you have other concerns, or a more serious illness such as HIV or Hepatitis, speak with your doctor as breastfeeding may be unsafe for your baby.

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