If you’re expecting or are currently nursing your baby, you already realize the importance of your breast milk.
Breastfeeding is one of the most intimate experiences that you and your baby will go through together. Your breast milk represents the best nutrition source for your newborn during the first few months after birth and will provide them with the needed immunity. At the same time, breastfeeding strengthens the emotional bond between the mother and the child.
But what if you’re not feeling well? Is it OK to breastfeed with a fever? Will it affect your baby negatively? Keep on reading to find out.
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Is it OK to Breastfeed with a Fever?
If you have a fever or any other illness like the flu, common cold, or sore throat, it’s OK to keep on breastfeeding your child. It’s very rare for diseases to get transferred through breast milk, so your baby will be safe, even if you’re not feeling well. Moreover, if you have a cold that caused the fever, breast milk will protect your little from getting infected because it will be full of antibodies.
Your breast milk is rich in antibodies that help establish the child’s immune system. This means that it will protect your infant from getting infected when they get too close to you during breastfeeding. Even if your baby gets sick, breast milk will speed up the recovery process.
Suffering from a viral or bacterial infection doesn’t affect the quality of your breast milk. It still remains to be the healthiest and most nutritious food for your little one, even when you’re not feeling well.
When your baby is sick, breast milk will help them get better faster. Breastfeeding soothes and comforts the baby during sickness, and the milk provides the needed nutrients and essential antibodies that help the body fight off a severe infection.
As a matter of fact, when your baby is sick, the saliva passes a cue to the mammary glands to change the structure and composition of the breast milk. The composition changes adding more white blood cells, antibodies, vitamins, minerals, stem cells, and protective enzymes that speed up the recovery process.
When your baby suffers from a bacterial or viral infection, breast milk will change its composition to provide your little one with the exact enzymes they need for recovery. The amount of milk increases when the baby is sick, increasing the number of leukocytes that boost the immunity in your baby’s body.
While most viral infections don’t pass through breast milk, some rare diseases do. HIV, HTLV-1, and brucellosis can be passed on from the mother to the child through breast milk. If you have been diagnosed with any of these, you should consult a health care provider to determine the safest and best way to feed your infant.
When you’re not feeling well or suffering from a fever, your milk supply might decrease. Your body isn’t feeling well, and you might not be eating enough. However, this decline in supply isn’t permanent, and your milk will return back to normal once you get better.
Can I Breastfeed If I Have Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning happens when you eat spoilt or contaminated food. If the food contains viruses, bacteria, or parasites, you might experience the annoying symptoms of food poisoning.
The most common symptoms include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, cramps, mild fever, weakness, headaches, and loss of appetite. Although you might not be feeling well, it’s still safe for you to breastfeed your baby.
As long as your food poisoning is under control, breast milk will be safe for your child because the infection is confined in the gastrointestinal tract. When left untreated, the bacterial infection can travel to the bloodstream, causing septicemia. In this case, the mother will probably go to the hospital and take strong medications to overcome the infection.
Breastfeeding might be avoided because some of these medications can pass through the milk to the child. At the same time, the mother might be too tired or weak to breastfeed the baby. She might not be eating well because of the infection. The mother’s overall well-being and the food she eats affect the quality and quantity of breast milk.
Even when a breastfeeding mother is hospitalized, her doctor will likely prescribe medications to help her get better. Some medications are safe for breastfeeding and during this period, the mother can still breastfeed her child under the advice of her doctor.
Can I Breastfeed On Antibiotics?
It’s not rare for a breastfeeding mom to get sick while nursing their child. In this case, the doctor will probably prescribe an antibiotic to help her get better fast.
Many antibiotics have no negative effect on breastfeeding. This means that you can still breastfeed your newborn, even if you’re taking antibiotics to feel better.
However, you need to understand that the medications present in your bloodstream to help your body fight off infections will also be present in breast milk. In other words, a small amount of the medication you’re taking will be passed onto your child.
Nevertheless, the amount of medication or antibiotic that reaches your child is usually too small and insignificant. It won’t affect your baby’s health negatively. There are a few precautions to follow if you’re taking antibiotics while breastfeeding your child.
- Any antibiotic you take should be under the doctor’s supervision and cleared by your pediatrician. If the medication is safe for your baby, you can take it without serious issues.
- Premature babies, newborns, and younger infants will get more affected by medications than older babies and breastfeeding toddlers.
- You should make sure that your baby isn’t allergic to the active ingredient in the antibiotic you’re taking.
- In some cases, your child might show some side effects because you’re taking antibiotics while breastfeeding. These include having an upset stomach and thrush. However, these side effects are usually short-lived and easily treated.
It is OK to breastfeed your child if you have a fever. Most illnesses and infections will not be passed onto your child through breast milk. In some rare cases, they might, so you need to check with your doctor. However, the benefits of continuing breastfeeding will usually outweigh any negatives. Your increased breast milk will actually increase your child’s immunity because it’s full of antibodies.
If you’re on medications, you should have them cleared by your pediatrician to make sure that they’re safe for your child. If your baby suffers from some annoying symptoms, they usually resolve after a short period.