Is It Safe To Breastfeed If The Mother Has Cold And Fever?

8 min read

Written by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

Is It Safe To Breastfeed If The Mother Has Cold And Fever_Being a mom when you are ill can be quite challenging. You cannot take the day off, and there is no quiet time or opportunity to rest and recover. When the mother contracts infections, her illness might not even be a top priority for her. As a breastfeeding mom with a cold and fever, you may be worried about getting your baby sick too. This is the time when your mind is filled with a whole lot of doubts, particularly for new moms.

Many new mothers need to know whether they can breastfeed their babies when they are sick. This article will help you with your dilemma of breastfeeding your baby while you have a cold or fever. Continue reading to get answers to all your questions.

In This Article

Can I Breastfeed When I Have Cold And Fever?

Yes, definitely! You can breastfeed your baby while suffering from a cold, flu, or fever. Stopping breastfeeding while you have a fever or are sick is not a smart idea unless you are particularly advised to do so by your doctor. In fact, being sick provides more reasons to breastfeed the baby often.

Why Is Breastfeeding Encouraged Even When The Mother Is Sick?

Breastfeeding Encouraged Even When The Mother Is Sick

Barring a few illnesses, breastfeeding is encouraged. Some of the benefits of breastfeeding even while you are sick are:

1. Help To Enhance Baby’s Immunity

If you have a normal cold, flu, fever, or stomach infection you probably might have exposed the baby to the illness the day before you experience the symptoms. In addition, your body starts to produce antibodies to fight the infection as soon as the microbes infect you. These antibodies will be present in breast milk in considerable quantity. Allowing your baby to have this breast milk alone will help your baby build immunity to fight off the infection.

2. Still Supplies Essential Nutrients To Baby

Breast milk is more easily digestible by your baby than any other milk or food. So, it is essential for you to breastfeed your baby even while you are sick in order to provide them with the necessary nutrients.

3. Stopping Breastfeeding Doesn’t Guarantee The Baby Won’t Catch An Infection

The baby can catch a cold and fever from the same source you get it from as they are highly contagious. So, no point in stopping feeding the breast milk as this is the time when your baby would not like to eat anything else, and breastfeeding will help keep them well hydrated.

4. Temporarily Stopping Breastfeeding Can Result in Low Milk Supply

If you temporarily stop breastfeeding your baby when you are sick, then it can decrease your breast milk supply, and once you recover there are chances that you can suffer from low milk supply which can affect your baby. Also, if you are sick and decide to temporarily stop breastfeeding, there may be a possibility that your baby may not accept your breastfeeds after your recovery. This can lead to early weaning which can affect you and your baby.

5. May Increase the Risk Of Mastitis

Suddenly stopping breastfeeding can lead to mastitis where milk can build up in your breasts and may cause inflammation and infection in your breast. So, it is advisable to continue breastfeeding even if you are sick to reduce the risks of mastitis. In short, with so many benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby, it is not advisable to stop breastfeeding your baby even if you have a cold or fever.

When Not To Breastfeed Your Baby?

When Not To Breastfeed Your Baby_

It is quite rare for a mother to stop breastfeeding for any illness. There are just a couple of serious sicknesses that may force the mother to stop breastfeeding temporarily or permanently.

These are:

a. HIV

The breast milk of an HIV-positive mother carries the virus that can be transmitted to the baby. Therefore, it is wise to quit breastfeeding if the mother is tested positive for HIV.

b. Septicemia

Septicemia is an infection of the blood. This infection occurs when a bacterial infection that happens somewhere else in the body, such as in the lungs or skin, enters the circulatory system. It is a life-threatening condition. This can be transmitted from mother to baby through breast milk.


c. In case you are infected with HTLV-1, you should not breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding can transmit the HTLV-1 infection from mother to infant. The more you breastfeed, the more the danger of passing the infection to the baby.

Is It Safe To Continue Breastfeeding When Suffering From Food Poisoning?

breastfeeding with food poisoning

Yes. Generally, food poisoning will not get into the bloodstream of the mother. Therefore, as long as the gastrointestinal tract alone is affected by the food poisoning there is no harm in breastfeeding the baby.

Similarly, genitourinary infections are also not considered a reason to stop breastfeeding. However, for some reason, if the infection gets into the mother’s bloodstream, breastfeeding should be stopped, at least temporarily until the infection is eliminated from the blood.

Is It Safe To Take Medicines While Breastfeeding?

The biggest fear for breastfeeding mothers while they are sick is not essentially the illness, but doubts about the medications they might need to take.

  • You should definitely avoid over-the-counter medications. When it is necessary for you to take medications, always check with your doctor or Lactation Consultant to make sure they are safe.
  • If you happen to suffer from a bacterial infection that requires antibiotics, make sure to ask your doctor for an antibiotic that is safe for breastfeeding.
  • If you are forced to go on a medication that is not compatible with breastfeeding, you can pump and dump your milk temporarily (that will help keep your milk supply up), and for the time being, you can also give your baby formula feeds.

Precautions And Tips For Breastfeeding While Having Cold And Fever

Precautions And Tips For Breastfeeding While Having Cold And Fever

Here are a few things to be taken care of, if the mother falls sick during the nursing period:

  • Wash your hands as often as possible with soap and hot water. You can even use a sanitizer. Always wash your hands before holding your baby and every time before you breastfeed.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue while sneezing or coughing.
  • Do not put any part of your baby’s pacifier or spoon in your mouth before offering it to your baby.
  • Restricting face-to-face contact is an unquestionable requirement. Never ever kiss your baby’s face while you are sick. You will have a lot of time to do so once you recover.
  • While you are sick, remember to drink plenty of fluids. Staying well hydrated is important for a better milk supply and to remain strong as you have a little one to look after.

Are There Any Side-Effects Of Medicines On Your Baby?

The majority of drugs have been discovered to pass in to the human breast milk. When the mother takes the drug in therapeutic amounts for short periods of time, the levels of the drug in breast milk are usually low enough to pose little risk to the infant.

  • Short-acting medications should be taken right after nursing, while longer-acting medications should be taken just before your baby’s longest sleep period. When a short-acting medication is taken immediately after a nursing session, much of it is likely to be out of your system by the time your baby is ready to nurse again.
  • Some medications can cause side effects in your baby, both when given directly to them and then transferred to your baby through the mother’s breast milk. These side effects will vary depending on the medication and how it is administered to your child.
  • You should always consult your doctor before taking any medications that you believe may be harmful to your child. In addition, some medications, such as cough syrup, can reduce supply. As a result, avoid taking over-the-counter medications.
  • When giving your baby any medication, keep an eye out for side effects such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, sleepiness, excessive crying, vomiting, or skin rashes. If any of these symptoms appear, contact your baby’s pediatrician right away.

Home Remedies For Breastfeeding Moms With Cold And Fever

Home Remedies For Breastfeeding Moms With Cold And Fever

If you’re trying to fight off a cold, the first thing you should do is relax as much as possible. Some common home remedies for breastfeeding mothers suffering from a cold or fever include:

  • Consume lots of fruits rich in Vitamin C
  • Use saline nasal spray to alleviate nasal congestion
  • Herbal teas like fenugreek tea, echinacea tea, lemon tea, etc. can effectively combat cold and cough
  • Include food high in Zinc
  • Increase the intake of garlic. Besides combating colds and coughs it also helps to increase breast milk.
  • Stay well hydrated
  • Turmeric milk is an excellent remedy
  • Take hot baths
  • Deep breathing can be aided by placing a drop of essential oil, such as eucalyptus or peppermint oil, on a cotton ball or tissue and placing it near the nose.
  • You might try using salt water. Make sure your nasal passageways are well lubricated by using saline drops, sprays, or rinses regularly.
  • Using a humidifier will help to alleviate stuffed nose, head congestion, and breathing issues.
  • Before taking any cold medication, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor for advice.
  • Short-acting drugs should be used instead of long-acting drugs when it comes to treating colds and fever during breastfeeding.

Hope this article helped to clear all your doubts about breastfeeding while having a cold or fever. Did you breastfeed your baby while you were sick? Please share your experience in the comments section below.


1. Can I Hold My Baby If I Have Cold And Fever?

If you are a baby’s sole caregiver, it may be impossible to stay away while sick. If you have to care for a baby while you’re sick, exercise extra caution. Frequent hand washing is a must. Try to limit touching the baby’s mouth and hands and kissing the baby around the face.

2. Can My Baby Catch My Cold And Fever?

Babies that are breastfed inherit all or a portion of their mother’s resistance to the diseases to which she has been exposed. The reality about viruses is that, even before you experience symptoms, they are typically quite communicable. Also, the baby may contract the infection from the same source as the mother.

3. Can I Take Cold And Fever Tablets While Breastfeeding?

Most cold medicines, including those that were prohibited during pregnancy, are safe to use while breastfeeding. This is due to the fact that, while all medications reach the fetus while pregnant, not all of them pass through your breast milk. However, always consult your doctor before beginning any new medications or natural remedies during breastfeeding.

4. Do Cough Drops Decrease Milk Supply?

Since just a negligible amount of menthol from lozenges really enters breast milk, nursing mothers can feel safe taking these products. However, menthol is derived from peppermint oil, which may lower milk production in some women. Thus, taking in plenty of menthol or peppermint cough drops during breastfeeding is usually not a good idea.

5. Can I Take Strepsils While Breastfeeding?

During breastfeeding, no adverse events connected with the use of Strepsil’s basic range of products (Amylmetacresol/Dichlorobenzyl Alcohol) have been recorded. The safety of the basic range of Strepsils products during lactation has not been demonstrated either. However, they are not expected to pose a risk during these times.

Editorial Team,

With a rich experience in pregnancy and parenting, our team of experts create insightful, well-curated, and easy-to-read content for our to-be-parents and parents at all stages of parenting.Read more.

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