Breastfeeding has a range of health benefits for both mother and baby, but when a mom gets sick, she might be afraid that her breast milk will carry that illness to the baby. Fortunately, your baby cannot catch the stomach flu from you through your breast milk. Rather, it is important to continue breastfeeding, as it gives your baby antibodies that protect her from your stomach flu.
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Breast milk is nature's healthiest substance, not to mention an ever-changing one. If you are sick, your breast milk will have additional antibodies specific to your flu that will prevent the baby from catching the illness or give her a milder case, according to lactation consultant Kelly Bonyata of KellyMom.com, a breastfeeding and parenting resource. Bonyata says this is the case for most illnesses, from the common cold to food poisoning. Continue to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding when you have the stomach flu has other advantages. Rather than having to get up and make bottle after bottle of formula when you are sick and run-down, you can relax and breastfeed your baby. You even can breastfeed in the side-lying position. The convenience of breastfeeding will be more apparent than ever when you are sick with the stomach flu.
The biggest concern about breastfeeding with the stomach flu is any medications that you might be taking to treat the flu. Tell your doctor that you are breastfeeding before he prescribes a medication so that he can find a treatment that is safe.
While your baby cannot get the stomach flu through your breast milk, she can catch it in other ways. Wash your heads often and keep a bottle of antibacterial hand sanitizer nearby for frequent use. Eliminate those kisses that you frequently give your baby until the stomach flu has passed.