As a lot of our traffic comes from questions people ask Google and somehow we get listed as the authority on the matter, the number one question or search term in the past week that we keep seeing is “can I breastfeed while sick.” I’m assuming the funk is dropping somewhere.
The short answer is yes, with the caveat that you’re not on medication and it’s a standard illness and not the West Nile or Ebola. If using medication, consult a physician or read the directions or check the internet – I’m not a doctor.
For the irony-filled full facts on the question, read on.
Will my baby catch what I have from breastfeeding while sick?
No, your baby caught what you had before you started coming down with symptoms. Sorry, that’s how it works. You were a germ and virus incubator for a day or two before your immune system kicked in and you’re feeling so crappy because your immune system is fighting the funk.
Unless you didn’t see your child for a couple of days beforehand, chances are they have what you have. Your milk won’t pass most viruses and germs.
Will my baby gain immunity from breastfeeding while sick?
This assumes you haven’t been around your kid for a day or two or that they’re showing no signs. Most sites say that you’ll be passing along your antibodies and immune system via breastmilk to your child.
This is one of those incredibly misunderstood wrongnesses… to break it down-
In your breast milk there are antigens, antibodies, what you consider your immune system in trace amounts. During the first two days of your baby’s life, you were able to transmit a small amount of that immunity via the colostrum you produced because baby’s stomach was amiable to receiving them.
About 48 hours after your baby was born, all ability to absorb an immune system from milk finished up (look up gut closure,) and your baby and you went onto immune support on your milk (happy baby=healthy baby.) Immune support is keeping calm, well fed, and happy. Vitamins, comfort, and such.
However, the antigens in the milk and your immune system that came along with it will attack anything that touches the milk. So assuming the milk is in an area of infection such as the back of the throat, the nasal passages, or in the eye, some of your internal immune system is externally attacking anything it comes in contact with.
Sort of like Lysol, but it only deals death to viruses and not also to the baby.
Will my baby gain superpowers if breastfeeding after being exposed to radiation?
What if I don’t feel like breastfeeding while sick?
Don’t. Formula can be had for relatively cheap and unless you’ve got a severely picky baby, it’s not going to mind. Stressed out sick mommy = stress hormone filled milk.
Far better to take a day or two off, get medication or rest in you, and then resume when you’re up to 100%
Minimizing chances of passing germs while breastfeeding
Wash your hands and grab a mask, don’t touch your baby’s eyes or mouth if possible.
Alternately if your baby is afraid of the mask, well, don’t know what to tell you there.. try not to slobber on the slobber machine.
What viruses and germs can pass through while breast feeding?
According to what I can find, your infections to worry about are hepatitis, HIV, CMV, TB, herpes if there are lesions, parasites, poxes, lyme disease, and potentially any STD.
Cold, flu, etc are not transmitable. Absurd flu is something to check on. If you think you’ve got the demon death flu that’s incurable, seriously, talk to someone that specializes in this. I’m an IT consultant.
But what about all these other sites…
I’m going by what I can find literature on, not by what people say. If I’ve found the wrong stuff, please let me know. Do your own research.