Should I Continue to Breastfeed While I’m Sick?

Posted by Sheena Sisemore on

   My youngest child is 21 months old. I breastfed him until he was 19 ½ months old. I was never really sick other than have a normal cold here and there. I continued breastfeeding during these times. R had a few rough respiratory illnesses, (mainly colds, except once he actually had croup), and a couple of ear infections. I continued to breastfeed through it all. I’m glad I did. Even though R had to be put on antibiotics for some of his sick times, it never seemed that lasted very long. I do believe that breastfeeding (and of course my Jesus) helped! The times that I was sick, I never took medicine and was able to get over it within a week or two. Again, I believe breastfeeding and my Jesus saved me. God designed a woman’s body with great purpose! According to La Leche League International, and with all of their over 60 years experience breastfeeding, they state that “There is a growing body of research showing babies benefit from multiple and divers immunologic proteins, including antibodies, provided in human milk, particularly through direct breastfeeding.” (https://www.llli.org/coronavirus/). This is my 3rd child that I have breastfed. My oldest was breastfed for 6 months and my middle child was breastfed for only 4 months. They both were hardly sick. Though, my middle one had RSV when he was around 8 months, but was not hospitalized. My oldest didn’t even get his first ear infection until he was 4 years old. I really thought that breast milk was like a magic potion that made it to where my babies would NEVER get sick, period, while breastfeeding. R proved me wrong. Upon further research, and personal experience, I did learn the truth about that myth. While it is not a magic potion to keep babies/toddlers from getting sick, it does give them plenty of benefits and antibodies that their little immune system needs to help fight the sickness and lessen the severity and length.
   So, what about times like what we are facing now, with an epidemic, (Coronavirus)? It is recommended to keep direct breastfeeding unless it is medically impossible! Then pump/hand express and feed or have baby fed with bottle. Baby still needs those antibodies for their immune systems. Good hygiene practices can help reduce the transfer of the germs of the virus. Le Leche League International (LLLI), The World Health Organization (WHO), & UNICEF all provide information and guidelines for breastfeeding during all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. There are risks to the disruption of breastfeeding for baby. If you are a breastfeeding Mama during this time or any time that you or baby are sick, please read what they have to say! Stay educated, please! Breastfeeding is a beautiful bonding experience for you & baby! It should not be stressful! 

 

SOURCES:

 https://www.llli.org/coronavirus/

 https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

 https://www.unicef.org/stories/novel-coronavirus-outbreak-what-parents-should-know


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