Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022
Can I continue to breastfeed if I catch the flu while breastfeeding?

In cases of influenza in lactation, it should not be interrupted. It is advisable to continue breastfeeding the baby to pass the antibodies of the virus and protect it.

One of the fears of the mothers when they are breastfeeding their babies is getting sick. Among the most common cases that usually occur is that of a mother who catches the flu while breastfeeding and goes to the doctor because she does not know what to do.

If I take the baby, will I infect him? If I breastfeed, will the virus pass through the milk? Will the medicines I take give my child side effects? They are very frequent questions. And almost always the answer is the same: in cases of flu in infancy there is no reason to interrupt it.

It is best to continue breastfeeding the baby for three main reasons:

1. The flu virus is not transmitted through breast milk.

2. When a nursing woman catches the flu, her body generates antibodies that pass to the baby and protect it. Therefore, if the mother stops breastfeeding, she increases the risk of infection of the child.

3. If the baby is already infected, breast milk will come in handy because it will contain antibodies that will help fight the virus.

INFLUENZA IN LACTATION: CAN I TAKE MEDICINE?

If you find yourself in this situation and the doctor prescribes medication, you should not worry too much either. The safest thing is to give you antivirals that are compatible with breastfeeding. What you can do is take them in such a way that the maximum peak of the drug in the blood (between half an hour and two hours after ingestion) does not coincide with the intakes.

At this point we are going to take the opportunity to remind you that there are many medications that you can safely take when you are breastfeeding. Among them: antibiotics (penicillin, cephalosporins, erythromycin, antitubercular drugs, etc.), paracetamol, ibuprofen, codeine, some antihistamines (promethazine, loratadine, dexchlorpheniramine, cetirizine…), corticosteroid nasal inhalers , asthma inhalers (salbutamol, terbutaline, corticosteroids or ipratropium), diuretics (thiazides or furosemide), antacids, Omeprazole, as well as various medications for epilepsy (arbamazepine, valproic acid or phenytoin), hypertension (propranolol or enalapril), depression(paroxetine, sertraline, imipramine, nortriptyline or dothiepine) or ulcers (ranitidine or famotidine).

In this guide published by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics you can see all the medicines compatible with breastfeeding.

You can also take natural remedies to help relieve flu symptoms. Nothing happens because you make vapors with essential oils, take herbal infusions, thyme or eucalyptus or relieve a sore throat with honey.

INFLUENZA IN LACTATION: PRECAUTIONS

However, just because you shouldn’t stop breastfeeding doesn’t mean you can’t take precautions. Some advices:

  • Wash your hands frequently, with warm water and soap. Above all, before picking up the baby and giving him the breast. Failing that, use an antibacterial gel.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow when you cough or sneeze (don’t use your hand, because then you can touch something and leave germs there). If possible, move away from the baby when you see that you are going to cough or sneeze.
  • Use paper tissues and throw them away as soon as you use them.
  • Thoroughly clean the surfaces you touch, especially those in the kitchen, as well as light switches and door handles.
  • Ventilate the rooms frequently.
  • To dry your hands, use kitchen paper or a towel that only you use.
  • You can wear a mask.

INFLUENZA IN INFANCY WITH PREMATURE BABIES

A separate case is that the baby is newborn, premature or has some disease. Then your doctor may recommend that you avoid direct breastfeeding. You can express your milk, but it is better that someone else gives it to you to prevent possible contagion.