When you’re feeling under the weather, it’s still safe to breastfeed. Breast milk is still the healthiest source of nutrition for your baby, as well as a source of antibodies and other immunological components that will help keep your child healthy. If you are unable to breastfeed due to illness, expressed breast milk provides the same benefits.
CAN I BREASTFEED THROUGH COVID -19?
Even with illnesses like Covid-19, our best evidence suggests that breast milk is the safest way to feed babies. If you are symptomatic or have an active infection, you can continue to pump and have a healthy caregiver feed your baby until you are cleared to breastfeed directly. This is something you should discuss with your doctor and a lactation consultant.
ARE ILLNESS TRANSMITTED THROUGH BREAST MILK?
The viruses that cause colds and flu do not pass-through breast milk. Certain more serious diseases, such as HIV, HTLV-1, or brucellosis (a rare bacterial infection), do pass through breast milk, and you should consult your doctor if you have been diagnosed with one of these illnesses.
HOW CAN I KEEP MY BABY FROM CATCHING MY COLD?
There are a few simple precautions you can take to keep your child healthy:
•Allow your partner or other family members to assist you with diapering, playtime, bath time, and bedtime, and don’t try to do everything yourself — you need rest to recover!
•When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and wear a mask while holding your baby.
•After coughing or sneezing, wash your hands with warm soap and water, especially if you’re handling your breast pump.
•To prevent the spread of disease, use a disinfectant on surfaces.
•Be alert: If you notice your child has a fever or respiratory problems, such as shallow or slow breathing, call your doctor.
CAN I BREASTFEED IF I MUST TAKE MEDICATION BECAUSE I AM SICK?
The quickest answer is, it depends. Medications like Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, low dose aspirin, and some antibiotics are safe to take during breastfeeding. There are also cold/cough medications that are “safe”, however they can drastically reduce your breastmilk because of the abilty to dry up mucus, so use with caution. Certain pain medications / narcotics are not recommended during breastfeeding.