Can I Breastfeed My Baby If I Have Fever or Cold?


Breastfeeding and Fever/Cold: What To Do?

When a lactating mother has fever/common cold, she usually feels skeptical about breastfeeding her baby. She thinks if she is ill, what if her breast milk would make her baby ill? This is why today we will tell you whether or not it is safe to feed the baby when you have fever/ cold. On reading further, you will also know about handful of fever/cold curing home remedies for nursing women, like you.

FAQ: Breastfeeding When Mom is Sick

Q: Can I Feed My Baby If I Have Fever Or Cold?

A: Yes, you can breastfeed your baby, even when you have fever/common cold.

Q: Won’t I pass on my fever or cold infection to baby?

A: No not at all. You know why because Breast milk is full of antibodies and an antibody is known to shield your baby from various diseases. Hence you won’t pass on any germ to your baby, through breast milk. You would instead immune him from your germs.

Q: Should I take extra care while breastfeeding this time?

A: Yes, especially when you are ill with a communicable disease like the common cold. These are some of the precautionary measures that you must exercise when suffering from cold. Keep this in mind because once in a year we all get afflicted with common cold/fever.
• Don’t apply any chest vapor rub or any such thing on your chest. Don’t do this, even when you are thinking of using a breast pump.
• Wash your hands properly with a hand wash. Then apply sanitizer on it before and after touching your baby.
• Though you can breastfeed your baby, try to maintain a safe distance from him. This means no kissing on his soft skin. No sneezing near or around him.
• You can make use of breast pump, just to avoid close contact with your baby. As it with skin contact also, germs can get transmitted easily. But it is not necessary.
• Wear an air mask when you are near him, like during breastfeeding time.
• Instead of handkerchief use a paper napkin.
• Keep a humidifier in the room, filled with cold curing essential oils like- Peppermint Oil or Eucalyptus Oil. Since you and your baby would certainly be sleeping in the same room at night.

Q: What if I don’t feed him?

A: Please don’t make the mistake of NOT feeding him. If he is less than 6 months old, you know he totally relies on you for nutrition and protection, as well. If he is solid food eating 6 months or older baby, then also you should not give up breastfeeding. As your breast milk is more nutritive than solid foods he eats.

Q: Any tips to make breastfeeding easy, when ill?

A: In fever, we understand you may not feel like breastfeeding but don’t do so, from above you now have a clue why. Here are some of the tips to breastfeed baby when suffering from fever:
• Lie down on your side and then breastfeed him. This way you can rest.
• Use bolsters or guardrails when you nurse him on the bed. So that he doesn’t roll over the bed.
• Lately, ask someone to stay at home so that they could take away your baby from you, soon as you finish feeding.
• You can even use breast pumps and store your expressed milk in baby bottle. This way you won’t have to get up from your bed, often.

Q: Illnesses/ Diseases when mothers can continue breastfeeding the baby?

A: If you are suffering from-
Food Poisoning
High Blood Pressure
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B
STD diseases
Cardiac Diseases
Multiple Sclerosis, etc. you can breastfeed your baby.
Note: this is not any medical advice. This content is just for informational purpose. Please contact your doctor for checkup, guidance and further assurance.
Source: KellyMom

Q: Illnesses/ Diseases when mothers should stop breastfeeding the baby?

A: You should not breastfeed your baby if you are diagnosed with:
HIV positive/AIDS
Hepatitis C
If you take chemotherapy medicines, then also many are advised not to breastfeed their infant.
Also, if your baby has galactosemia, then also you should not breastfeed him.
In many diseases, you can just express your milk instead of feeding him directly.
Note this is not any medical advice. This content is just for informational purpose. Please contact your doctor for checkup, guidance and further assurance.

Q: After effects of fever/cold medicines on your baby?

A: Never take any non prescribed medicines. This also means you should not even take TV popularized fever/cold medicines, like- vapor rubs, cough syrups, and cough lozenges, etc.
If your doctor prescribes you some medicines, then check that your baby after feeding doesn’t feel drowsy abnormally. Other than this, you should try taking your meds after feeding him, not before.

Q: Should you tell your doctor that you’re breastfeeding?

A: Well, your doctor has a right to know this. Plus it’s your responsibility to let him know that you’re continuing breastfeeding even in your illness. This way he will also give such prescriptions that won’t affect your baby, anyway. As due to some meds, even the immunizing breast milk supply might get reduced. So let your docs know everything.

11 Home Remedies for Lactating Moms with Fever/Cold?

A: In the first paragraph, we were talking about the following 11 home remedies for nursing mothers having fever/cold:

1. Stay Hydrated

warm water

Along with water, at times in between, you can hydrate yourself with the fresh coconut drink. Coconut water is high in electrolytes about which we will talk later.

You must have heard tons of time that turmeric milk keeps common cold at bay. But many of us don’t like drinking it. Here’s another way to drink turmeric in cold
In your coconut water, add 1/2 spoon of ginger juice, 1/2 spoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of turmeric in it. Drink it up, without thinking much. Not that it would taste strange, but since it’s a common cold remedial drink, you might hesitate drinking it, thinking it to be some tonic.

2. Homemade Electrolyte Drinks

lemon water

The human body needs electrolytes to stay hydrated. Electrolytes also said to relieve us from body pain this is why many post workout drinks are advertised as electrolytes filled drinks.

In cold, you won’t feel like drinking water due to sore throat and runny nose. Still you should drink our electrolyte drink because water helps in thinning out mucus.

While in fever, our body tends to lose water. In such a case, you should know that electrolytes not just hydrates body, they also act as body coolants.

So don’t think our suggested electrolyte drink to be some common fruit juice or some mock-tail. Here is its recipe:

Inside a tumbler, take 1/4 cup of Lime or Orange juice. Mix it with 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Then pour in 1/2 cup of water in it. After this, add 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 tablespoon of sugar in it. Mix everything and sip it in.

3. Tomato Basil Soup

Instead of drinking basil (Tulsi) tea, you can make Tomato Basil Veg soup for yourself.

Basil is antifungal, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidative herb, whereas tomato is rich in electrolytes. We guess, you don’t need further explanations about electrolytes now.

Tomato Basil can be made with other anti-cold, herbs and spices like parsley, bay leaf, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, black pepper and yes, of course with salt!

Salt won’t just make your soup, tasteful but it would also hydrate your dehydrating body.

4. Fenugreek Tea

fenugreek seeds

Methi/Fenugreek Seeds Tea is also another promising herbal tea, known to cure a common cold.

It can purge mucus from your body, with this you won’t suffer from coughing in cold. As even due to constant coughs, one may get headaches and body aches.

Remember we said that certain cold/fever medicines can reduce milk supply in your body. Well with fenugreek herbal tea you can increase your beast milk production naturally.

5. Chicken Soup

Take skinless chicken with bones for making the chicken soup. Chicken soup can not only cure a cold, it can also be helpful in treating fever. When make the soups don’t forget to add in it anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, ginger, garlic, thyme and oregano in it. You will also get a list of vegetables below that you can add to the soup. While brewing the legendary chicken soup for yourself, don’t forget to add salt in it!

7. No Skipping Meals

Better drink common cold treating teas or soups, three-four before having the meal. That way your tummy won’t feel full. Eat foods that are mainly Vitamin C, D, A and protein rich foods like:

Carrots, Spinach, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Red Peppers, Tomato, Cabbage, Onion, and Potato, etc.
Using these veggies you can make mixed veg soup for yourself. For, making the soup use butter as it is Vitamin A rich food. Season it with black pepper powder, which contains mucus-clearing piperine in it.

Other than this, you can also eat:
Eggs, Strawberries, Grapes, Guava, Sweet Potato, Pineapple, Watermelon, Mango, Kiwi, and Papaya, etc.

Don’t skip meals as they will provide you energy to survive fever/cold.

8. Bed Rest

sleeping woman

With cold, you can drop peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil on your pillow cover to avoid nasal congestion. Take enough rest because in sleep also, our body produces body healing antibodies! Guess that’s why they ask us to, ‘Get some rest’.

With fever, take bowl fill it with lukewarm water and then add some salt in it. Stir the salt in water, take a clean dry cotton cloth, dip it inside the solution then place it on your forehead.

The lukewarm water after getting evaporated on air, would not only bring down your body’s temperature, it would also give your some relief from common/fever body pain. We asked you to add salt in water as the salty sea water is said to clear sinuses of its swimmers. The sinus on forehead majorly controls mucus production in our body.

9. Go For a Walk

You would be surprised to know but at times, especially in rainy season, we catch a cold because of staying indoors for a long time. Whether or not its rainy season, you should get moving because due to prolong bed rest also you might start feeling lazy and passive. A nursing mother shouldn’t be like this, we say.

10. Roasted Ajwain Lahsun (Carom Garlic ) Potli

In case of common cold, this is effective and safe remedy for nursing mothers.
ajwain garlic potli
Take dry carom seeds and peeled garlic cloves and roast it in a heated pan for 2-3 minutes. Then take a clean dry cotton cloth or cotton handkerchief and spread this mixture on it. After this make its potli (ball) and lightly thump it on your forehead and feet’s soles, before sleeping at night.

This would help in avoiding both nasal and chest congestion.

11. Steam

If you have a facial steamer at home, then drop peppermint oil or eucalyptus oil in it. After this cover your head with a towel and breathe in steam’s vapor for up to 5 minutes. This way your nose will get cleared up, you may not develop chest congestion, also your headache would be gone with this.

If you are without a facial steamer, then fill a bucket with hot water. Drop any of one of the essential oils in it and take a steam as started above. You can take steam before bathing, effective in common cold.
This way your baby won’t get common cold cough , chest congestion, and fever etc. through you, if you would timely cure yourself with our natural home remedies. Let us know your thoughts in the comment box. Since you are a lactating/nursing mother, we will be all ears even to your quirkiest concerns.


About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.


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    Breastfeeding mothers often face a complicated situation when they are unwell. Should they continue breastfeeding their baby? Should they stop because of their illness?

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