Is it safe to breastfeed with the flu?

Is it okay to breastfeed if the mother has the flu?

Flu season is upon us and as a reminder, breastfeeding mothers should continue to breastfeed their children even if they become sick.  Your best protection and your baby’s best protection is to stay away from large crowds of people, be diligent about washing your hands, limit the number of people who may have contact with your baby, and make sure that those who are around your baby are not sick.

However, if you do get sick with the flu, don’t stop breastfeeding. Limit face to face contact with your baby, wear a mask when handling your baby and always remember to wash your hands before holding your baby.

What if my baby gets sick?

If your baby becomes sick it is important to continue to breastfeed.  Frequently your baby’s illness is not as severe if you are breastfeeding.  Your milk is designed to protect your baby.  

Is it okay to take medications for the flu while I breastfeed?

Most medications taken to help with the flu are safe to take while breastfeeding and it is also safe to get the flu vaccine. If you have any questions, ask your doctor.

How can breast milk continue to help build the baby’s immune system?

The mother’s body and breast milk make antibodies for the specific bacteria and viruses that the mother is exposed to.   In addition, the infant would be exposed to the virus even before the mother showed signs of illness, so there is absolutely no reason to stop breastfeeding.