I've been having flu-like symptoms lately, and I might have the flu. Is it safe to continue breastfeeding my baby?
Yes, you can continue to breastfeed your baby, even if you are taking antiviral medicines for flu-like symptoms. A mother's breast milk is custom-made for her baby, providing specific antibodies that babies need to fight infection. So, continuing to breastfeed your baby can actually protect him or her from the infection that your body is fighting.
While you're sick, however, it's important to expose your baby to as few germs as possible. Babies are at higher risk of catching the flu and having health problems from it. So follow flu hygiene precautions, such as washing your hands often, coughing or sneezing into a tissue (and then throwing it away), and limiting close face-to-face contact with your baby. You might consider wearing a facemask during breastfeeding to avoid coughing, sneezing, or breathing directly into your baby's face.
If you're worried about your baby's risk or are too sick to breastfeed, pump your breast milk and have someone who is not sick feed your baby the expressed milk. Also, doctors recommend flu shots during flu season for babies and everyone else 6 months and older.
Contact the doctor if your baby develops any flu-like symptoms.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: September 2015
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|La Leche League This international organization offers support, encouragement, information, and education on breastfeeding.|
|CDC: Flu (Influenza) The CDC's site has up-to-date information on flu outbreaks, immunizations, symptoms, prevention, and more.|
|WomensHealth.gov The Office on Women's Health (OWH), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), offers reliable health and wellness information for women and girls.|
|Tips for Treating the Flu Here are some quick tips for helping your child get over the flu.|
|Too Late for the Flu Vaccine? The flu vaccine is usually offered between September and mid-November. Even though it's best to get it then, being vaccinated later can still help protect against the flu.|
|Is It a Cold or the Flu? Your child is sent home from school with a sore throat, cough, and high fever - could it be the flu that's been going around? Or is it just a common cold? Find out here!|
|Pregnancy & Newborn Center Advice and information for expectant and new parents.|
|Flu Center Learn all about protecting your family from the flu and what to do if your child gets flu-like symptoms.|
|Breastfeeding FAQs: Pumping Here are answers to some common questions about pumping your breast milk - from buying a pump to making the process a little easier.|
|Breastfeeding FAQs: Safely Storing Breast Milk Here are answers to some common questions about how to keep breast milk and how to clean and sterilize supplies, from bottles to nipples to breast pump parts.|
|Is the Flu Vaccine a Good Idea for Your Family? The flu vaccine is a good idea for all families. It does not cause the flu, and it helps keep kids and parents from getting sick.|
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