It's cold and flu season, and one of the most common questions moms ask is: "Can I still breastfeed my baby while I'm sick?"
The short answer: Most definitely!
The beauty of breastfeeding is that the composition of breast milk can change from day to day. While your body is busy building antibodies to fight off whatever illness you catch, your baby benefits by consuming those antibodies, which will act as a protective feature to their immune system. When my youngest son was breastfeeding, my older son came home with a nasty case of the stomach bug, which he promptly passed along to me. The only one who was safe from any symptoms was the baby who continued to breastfeed throughout.
With some severe illnesses, like the flu, limiting your baby's exposure to sick contacts is important, but you are still encouraged to breastfeed if you do not have a healthy partner who can give your baby expressed breast milk, or if you are unable to pump.
What about medications? Most antibiotics and antiviral meds (for the flu) are safe to take while breastfeeding. Like with all new medications, let your physician know you are breastfeeding so that they can prescribe the right medication for you.
And of course, prevention is key: Wash your hands frequently and continue to eat a well-balanced diet to stay healthy!