Have you ever been forbidden to breastfeed when you got sick?
Well-meaning relatives would tell us to get as far away from baby as possible when we get sick so we don’t transfer what we have to our baby.
The thing is… IT IS A MYTH!
It is actually more important that you breastfeed while you are sick, so you could transfer all the antibodies that your body is producing to fight off what you got to your baby. It gives them protection from the same virus you have. They are either spared from the same virus or they recover fast.
Chances are your baby was already exposed to the virus even before you exhibited the symptoms.
You already had the virus even before you had a cough, colds, and fever.
Coughs and colds, even vomit, are our body’s way of expelling out the virus that got into your system. When you have them, your body has already killed off as much virus as it can and is just expelling the ones that were already killed through coughs, sneeze, colds, and vomit.
Anything that comes out of you is still contagious, so you still have to keep yourself clean before being near your baby. While breastfeeding gives them a fighting chance against the virus, it doesn’t excuse you from sneezing in front of your baby. You still have to cover your mouth and wash your hands (and yourself) often.
Reasons why you should not breastfeed
There are still rare exceptions when you are not recommended to breastfeed and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided a list of conditions where a mother should not breastfeed. Mind you, they are very very few. They are:
- An infant diagnosed with galactosemia, a rare genetic metabolic disorder
- The infant whose mother:
- Has been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Is taking antiretroviral medications
- Has untreated, active tuberculosis
- Is infected with human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I or type II
- Is using or is dependent upon an illicit drug
- Is taking prescribed cancer chemotherapy agents, such as antimetabolites that interfere with DNA replication and cell division
- Is undergoing radiation therapies; however, such nuclear medicine therapies require only a temporary interruption in breastfeeding
So, if you get sick the best thing you can do to your child is to breastfeed.
Bonyata, K. (2017). Should breastfeeding continue when mom is sick?. KellyMom.com. Retrieved 16 April 2017, from http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/illness-surgery/mom-illness/
LLLI | FAQ on Breastfeeding While Mother is Sick. (2016). La Leche League International. Retrieved 16 April 2017, from http://www.llli.org/faq/sick.html
When a Nursing Mother Gets Sick – Breastfeeding Basics. (2017). Breastfeeding Basics. Retrieved 16 April 2017, from https://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/when-a-nursing-mother-gets-sick
When should a mother avoid breastfeeding?. (2016). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved 16 April 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/disease/index.htm