When You're Sick

"How can I take care of my baby if I get sick?" is a common question new mothers ask. Breastfeeding is ideal when you are ill and will give you the chance to rest and recover.

Illnesses such as the common cold or flu are usually passed through skin contact and secretions from the nose and mouth. The illness is NOT passed through the breast milk. In fact, your baby will actually be protected from your illness when you breastfeed because your antibodies to the specific germ are part of your breast milk.

Most viral illnesses are at their most contagious before you start feeling poorly. By the time you realize you are sick, you may have already passed the disease along to other family members. Quite often, a breastfed baby will be the only member of the family who doesn't get sick. If he does get sick, he will usually have a much milder case than other members of the family.

If you require medications, even over the counter medications, check with your health care provider and breastfeeding expert.


If you require medication, even over the counter medications, talk to your Peer Counselor and health care provider. Things for you to consider...

  • Do I need this medication?
  • Is there an alternative?
  • Will this medication affect my baby?
  • Will this medication affect my ability to make milk?
  • Have I talked to a doctor or other breastfeeding expert?