Can I Still Breastfeed If I Am Sick?

One question that many parents ask when it comes to breastfeeding is “can I still breastfeed if I am sick?” Mothers are often worried about passing the cold or illness on to their baby. They also worry about any medications they take to alleviate symptoms.

Can I still breastfeed if I am sick?

If you are sick, breastfeeding is the best thing you can do.

For the most part, you can still breastfeed if you are sick. In fact, it is the best thing you can do, and it is very rare for a mom to have to stop breastfeeding if she is sick.

By the time you know you are sick, your baby has already been exposed to the cold or illness. Continuing to to breastfeed gives your baby the benefit of the antibodies you have started to develop to fight off the illness. If you stop breastfeeding it actually increases the chance that your baby will get sick.

You should still continue to do things to prevent the spread of illness though. You still need to wash your hand, cover your mouth when you cough, and anything else you would normally do to prevent the spread of illness.

What if I have food poisoning or a gastrointestinal illness?

You can still breastfeed since there is no risk to the baby. If you have food poisoning you can breastfeed as long as it doesn’t turn into septicemia, which is when the infection enters your bloodstream (you will be hospitalized for this).

There are some special considerations when breastfeeding while you are sick.

You need to make sure you are getting enough fluids. This may be more difficult if you have vomiting and diarrhea, but do your best so you can keep up your milk supply.

If you go to the doctor make sure he knows you are breastfeeding so he gives you the appropriate medication. If you don’t think you need to go to the doctor, but you want to take over-the-counter medications to alleviate your symptoms, make sure you talk to the pharmacist or doctor before taking anything to make sure it is compatible with breastfeeding.


The Le Leche League

Thanks for reading, Cassie

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