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Can you continue to breastfeed even if you have a cold?

Unfortunately even breastfeeding mothers are not immune from illnesses like coughs, colds and upset tummies. What precautions can you take to keep your baby safe during breastfeeding?

A lot of mothers are uncertain whether they can continue to breastfeed when they have a cold because they don't want to pass the infection on to their baby. Luckily there are no pathogens in breast milk itself, so in fact you can carry on breastfeeding despite having a cold. However, bacteria can be passed on through cuddling, kissing or close face-to-face contact.

Neonatal immunity
Babies enjoy neonatal immunity in their first year of life. Right from birth they have a kind of natural resistance against infection. By continuing to breastfeed, the baby receives important antibodies which strengthen its immune system.

Minimize cuddle time
The baby can only catch cold through personal contact, not through breast milk, so it is essential to take the correct hygiene measures. Especially when you have a cold or flu, you should wash your hands before contact with the baby so that germs are not passed on. It also helps to cut down on cuddles during this time.

Nutrition
Be sure to eat a healthy and varied diet if you have a cold because this will ensure that your baby continues to get all the nutrients it needs. If you have little or no appetite, a light meal such as chicken soup with plenty of vegetables can boost the immune system. So-called "hot" spices also help to strengthen the body and improve the circulation. Try seasoning your food with ginger, coriander, cloves, basil or rosemary. Don't forget to drink enough, because you naturally need more fluids when you have a temperature.

Medication
Ask your doctor about taking medication since some of the constituents may be passed on to the baby through breast milk. Breastfeeding may need to be interrupted in these cases. It may be worthwhile to express and freeze some breast milk in advance of your treatment so that you are not forced to use industrially produced milk substitutes.

 

15.06.2015


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