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Can I breastfeed if I have a cold?

‘I’m a breastfeeding mum, full of a cold.  I don’t want my baby to get sick too, should I stop breastfeeding?’

Feeding your baby with breast milk when you’re unwell will provide them with some immunity from the sickness you are dealing with.  Our bodies have a unique ability to produce antibodies in our breast milk which help to protect and reduce the chance of baby also becoming ill.   

Colds and flus are not transmitted through breast milk, they are contracted via droplets through sneezing and coughing.  By continuing to breastfeed, a mother provides her baby with antibodies and other immune elements to fight the cold and flu viruses.   

Be aware of medications that may pass through the breast milk to the baby.  Make sure you tell your pharmacist, doctor or natural health provider that you are breastfeeding so that you receive suitable treatment that won’t interfere with breastfeeding.   

Looking after mum: 

  • Get plenty of rest 
  • Drink and eat healthily 
  • Ask for help 
  • Wash your hands regularly 
  • Look after your breasts – skipping or spacing feeds can put mums at risk of engorgement or blockages 

Looking after baby if s/he gets a cold: 

  • Continue breastfeeding; babies enjoy the comfort and the additional nutrients offered 
  • Breastfeeding also offers extra hydration during this period of illness 
  • The sucking action at the breast has additional benefits of reducing the risk of middle ear infections, which often coincides with colds in young children 
  • Nasal saline drops can help unblock the baby’s nose 

Seek professional advice should you have any concerns, or your symptoms aren’t clearing. 


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