While being ill, many new moms are skeptical about whether they should continue breastfeeding their babies. They’re worried if the illness would get transmitted to their newborn through breastfeeding. Well, contrary to certain myths, the good news is that breastfeeding can still be continued even while the mother is ill.

In this article, let’s see all possible concerns related to breastfeeding during illness and the fact that it is actually beneficial for both the mother and the baby.

How safe is it to breastfeed during sickness?

Breastmilk is the healthiest source of nourishment for the newborn. It is the most easily digestible form of food a baby can ever have. As it provides essential antibodies and several immunological factors, breastmilk prevents the baby from getting sick. Hence, it is absolutely safe and effective for moms to breastfeed even when they are not keeping well. 

Is it risky for the infant?

Breastfeeding can be continued if the mother is suffering from less serious health conditions like cold, cough, flu, viral infections, etc. Moreover, moms with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, TB, Hepatitis B, asthma, and rhinitis issues can also breastfeed their baby. 

However, more serious diseases like HIV, HTLV-1, and Brucellosis (i.e. a rare bacterial infection) are potentially fatal for the child. These diseases do pass on from the mother to the baby through breastfeeding. In such cases, it is recommended to consult a trusted healthcare provider to avert risks. 

What medicines can be taken while breastfeeding?

Almost all over-the-counter medicines come with special notifications for breastfeeding moms. Most antibiotics, Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Antihistamines, and Decongestants are recommended to be used for ill moms. However, before taking any kind of medicine while breastfeeding during illness, it is best advised to consult a medical specialist first.

What medicines should be avoided?

According to doctors, some medications may prove to be harmful while nursing. Pseudoephedrine, an antihistamine (which may affect milk supply), along with high dose vitamins and other supplements must be avoided during breastfeeding in illness. 

How can ill moms maintain their health while nursing?

To start with, they should take as much rest as possible in sickness. Taking adequate and regular rest can build up the immune system and allow it to fight against potential health threats. 

Below are some of the important tips for mothers to maintain their health so that they are capable of looking after their newborn in a much better way:

  • Increase vitamin intake – Vitamin-rich foods like strawberries, melons, papayas, spinach, broccoli, oranges, etc. can pump up a weakened immune system. 
  • Include zinc – Foods such as beef, turkey, eggs, wheat germ, yogurt, and oats carry immense amounts of zinc, which again builds up immunity. 
  • Vaporizing – Keeping nasal passages moisturized with vapors can help in the long run.   
  • Hydration is the key – Water and other soothing beverages like soups, broths, and tea can help in maintaining hydration levels. Staying hydrated helps faster recovery from illnesses. 
  • Safe/ prescribed medicines – It is advisable to always opt for medicines that are safe and prescribed by medical professionals. Even simple decongestants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc. should be taken under medical supervision. 

Although falling ill is inevitable, new moms can bounce back by following proper healthcare routine and a balanced diet. Instead of panicking and worrying, a little extra care can help in the long run.