22 Nov 2018 | 3 min Read
Dr Deepali Shahasane
Author | 3 Articles
So many times, a mother develops an infection and does not realize it. By the time the cold and cough symptoms appear in the mother, the baby has been exposed to the infection, but is perfectly fine. In fact, breastmilk helps the baby fight against the infection as the mother’s milk contains antibodies that protect the baby.
Thus, a mother may realize that her baby does not fall sick even if she was breastfeeding during the illness.
Breastfeeding while sick with minor illnesses like a cough and cold or a stomach upset is perfectly alright. As long as the mother is comfortable and not feeling weak, she can continue breastfeeding during illness. If the mother is on medications, since most medications reach the mother’s milk in very small amounts, they are no more harmful than formulated milk.
So you can now stop asking yourself the question, “can I breastfeed if I have a cold?”, and go ahead and breastfeed your baby.
When you are unwell, abruptly stopping breastfeeding is not at all a good idea since it puts you at risk for breast engorgement, infection of the breasts, and emotional distress.
Most cold and cough medicines can be taken while breastfeeding.
Taking a cough syrup while breastfeeding is considered safe except when the cough syrup contains menthol, which can reduce the milk flow.
You should increase your water intake during illness so that you are not dehydrated. One may notice reduced breast milk quantity during the illness and even a few days after. But not to worry, just continue feeding, and the milk supply will quickly be back to normal once you start feeling better.
Also, you should rest enough, and take three meals and three snacks a day. So all those breastfeeding moms, breastfeeding while sick is safe unless the doctor advises otherwise.