Being a mother means giving your child the best care possible. However, while mothers can be considered superheroes, they can still get sick. The question now remains: can mothers continue breastfeeding while they are sick? The answer is: yes. You have to remember that your breastmilk is the healthiest nourishment that you can provide your growing child and that it provides antibodies to bolster their immune systems. Here are some tips to help you out:
Breastfeeding from a bottle
Breastfeeding is good for your baby whether they latch directly to your breasts or receive breast milk from a bottle. In some cases, the baby’s sucking reflex is too weak to latch to the breast so breastfeeding from a bottle is the best choice. Expressed milk has the same benefits. Either way you choose to feed your child, many new mothers benefit from breastfeeding home visit services.
Wear a mask while feeding
Understandably, once a habit is formed, infants prefer feeding the way they are used to. It can be challenging to feed a baby with a bottle if they have been breastfeeding from the breast since they were born. If it is impossible to have someone else feed them with a bottle while you are sick, you can still breastfeed but make sure to wear a mask. So, in case you need to sneeze, you won’t transmit the viral infection to your child. You must remember that when a newborn gets a cold, it is harder for them to breastfeed because their nose can become stuffed, making it harder for them to breathe.
Wash hands before and after feeding
Before allowing your child, especially a preemie, to latch on you, make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Do the same when you sneeze, especially when you are handling a breast pump. Sterilize the bottles and breast pump to avoid the spread of diseases. You can also use breastfeeding pillows to limit the amount you touch your child for the time being.
Drink plenty of water
When you have a cough, cold or flu, don’t forget to hydrate. Illnesses can deplete your milk supply, so make sure that you drink plenty of water so you won’t get dehydrated and you can maintain a healthy amount of milk.
Know what medications you can take
Part of your responsibility as a breastfeeding mother is to make sure that you will not transmit any disease to your child. And since you need to get better quickly, you should take medications that can help reduce fever, and ease the symptoms of coughs and colds. Breastfeeding mothers do not have the liberty of taking some medications, so it is best to consult your doctor first. In general, the following drugs are considered safe for breastfeeding mothers:
- Antihistamines (Note: Ask for proper dosage as it can cause infant drowsiness)
- Decongestants (Note: Stay away from those that has pseudoephedrine, as it depletes your breastmilk supply)
- Certain antibiotics
Again, it is best to check with your doctor first to make sure your child remains in the safe zone.
Take zinc supplements
Your zinc supplementation should be doubled during times that you are sick. When you feel better, you should continue taking it as an immunity booster.
Motherhood is a 24-hour gig. We cannot merely call-in sick if we are feeling under the weather. The best thing that you can do is to avoid getting sick by strengthening your immune system.