Cold and flu season is upon us and unfortunately, some lactating mamas will find themselves stricken by an inconvenient virus.
There is some confusion surrounding breastfeeding while ill but the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that “it is not necessary to discontinue or interrupt breastfeeding. Through breastfeeding, the infant will receive the antibodies that the mother is producing to fight the illness.” HealthyChildren.org spells it out even more clearly by stating that “if you develop a cold while breastfeeding, for example, you are likely to pass the cold germs on to your baby—but the antibodies your body produces to fight that cold also will be passed on through your milk. These antibodies will help your infant conquer the cold germs quickly and effectively and possibly avoid developing the cold altogether.”
So, along with good hygiene practices like thorough hand-washing and using the crook of your arm as a “cough pocket,” breastfeeding is an excellent way to protect your child from falling ill. If you breastfeed your child while you are suffering from a cold or flu virus, you don’t risk spreading your germs through your milk, you spread protection in the form of antibodies your body is producing to fight the virus.
Don’t forget to practice self-care if you end up catching a nasty bug. Drink plenty of fluids, ask your doctor which cold and flu medications are safe to take while nursing, and get as much rest as possible; pump your milk (using your PumpEase hands-free pumping bra, naturally) and ask your partner to take a night feed so you can get some uninterrupted, restorative sleep.