Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Breastfeeding - Mother's Illness


  • Breastfeeding questions about mother's illness

Call or Return If

  • You become worse
  • You think you need to be seen
  • Your baby becomes sick
  • You have other questions or concerns

About This Topic

Keep Breastfeeding for Most Illnesses

  • For most illnesses, keep breastfeeding. Reason: breast milk gives antibodies to your baby to help fight off germs.
  • If you are too sick, you can pump to keep your milk supply up. Have someone else feed your baby the expressed milk.

After Care Advice

Keep Breastfeeding for Most Illnesses:
  • Examples are when you have a cold, cough or diarrhea.
  • Keep nursing, even if you have a fever.
  • Reason: Breast milk carries your antibodies. These can protect your baby from the full-blown illness.
Use Good Hand Washing:
  • Try to prevent the spread of infection by good hand washing.
  • Do this after blowing your nose (for colds) or after stools (for diarrhea).
  • Wash your hands before you pick up your baby.
Medicines That Are Safe to Use While Breastfeeding:
  • It's best to take your medicine(s) at the end of a feeding.
  • Pain or Fever: Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are safe to use in breastfeeding moms. Aspirin (325 mg) should not be used.
  • Decongestants: Do not use decongestants by mouth. They can reduce milk supply in some mothers. An example is Sudafed.
  • Nose Sprays: Nose sprays can be used. A decongestant spray (such as Afrin) is a safe choice while breastfeeding. Do not use for more than 3 days. A steroid nasal spray can also be used for a longer time. Saline nasal sprays are safe to use as needed for stuffy noses.
  • Allergy Meds: These drugs for allergy symptoms are OK during breastfeeding. Non-sedating allergy medicines (long-acting ones) are preferred. They can be given as needed once per day at bedtime. Do not use combination products with decongestants.
  • Cough Meds: Dextromethorphan (DM) is okay to use while nursing. Breastfed babies should be watched for sleepiness or poor feeding. Cough drops and honey are safe to use by moms for a cough. (Caution: Do not give honey to infants less than 1 year old).
  • Talk with your doctor or nurse about other medicines before using.
Stop Breastfeeding for these Medical Concerns:
  • There are few medical conditions in the mother when breastfeeding is not advised.
  • Some of these are:
  • AIDS
  • Herpes simplex rash (fever blisters) on the nipple/areola
  • Drug abuse
  • TB
  • Talk with your doctor.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2021 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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