Breastfeeding While Sick

I’m Sick! Should I Still Breastfeed My Baby?

It’s that time of year again!  FLU SEASON!!!  In San Diego, we have been hit especially hard with the 3-5 day stomach flu these past few weeks.  I am getting phone calls, texts, and emails from worried mothers wondering if they should breastfeed their infants while they are sick.  The overwhelming answer is YES, and this is why.

When we are bombarded with germs in our environment, our bodies create immunity towards these germs so that we can stay healthy.  Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.  A breastfeeding mother not only creates immunity for her own body, but her breastmilk contains immunological properties (antibodies) as well, which are passed on to her nursing child.  It’s as if your baby is getting an extra dose of immunity with each breastfeeding session.  Also, by the time a mother and/or baby begin to show symptoms of a cold, flu, etc., they have already been contagious for a few days, so no need to stop now.  This is why it is absolutely imperative for a breastfeeding mother to continue to nurse her child while she sick….it will hopefully keep your baby from getting sick, or at least to a lesser degree.