Breastfeeding When Your Baby Is Sick

Whether it’s cough, cold, stomach flu or other common illness, there's no need to stop breastfeeding while your baby is sick. On the contrary, your milk is a powerful medicine that can help your little one recover more quickly! When your baby is sick, your milk may actually change its composition in response to the baby’s saliva, providing even more of the beneficial compounds babies need to get well.

Changes in Nursing Habits

Some babies want to nurse more when they’re sick, while others nurse less (especially if they have a sore throat). If a baby refuses to nurse, pump to keep up your supply, and keep offering the breast at every feeding. You can make sure your baby is still taking in breast milk by using bottles, sippy cups, spoon-feeding or even making breast milk Popsicles.

Helping Your Baby Nurse

If your baby has a cold, you can make things easier by trying to keep him or her upright while feeding. Use saline drops and nose suction tools (like a bulb) to ease your baby’s nasal congestion.

If nausea or diarrhea is the culprit, nurse as much as you can to keep up your baby’s hydration. Breast milk is easily digested, so chances are your little one will still get many of the nutrients, even if he or she vomits soon after eating.  

Breastfeeding is a comforting and soothing behavior for babies, so it’s all the more important when they’re sick. If you have any concerns about your baby’s health and breastfeeding, speak with your baby’s healthcare provider.

See also ...

•  Protection against ear infections

•  Whole family health

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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