Breastfeeding during the winter months is a very important thing you can do for your baby. There is a higher incidence of flu and respiratory illness as well as gastro intestinal illness during the winter months. Breast milk has immune properties in it and when the mother gets sick or is exposed to a specific illness, her milk begins to build up even more antibodies that are specific to fighting off that particular illness. We often get calls here at Kangaroo Kids asking whether a mom should continue to breastfeed her baby when she has a cold or the flu. The answer is YES YOU CAN! The baby has already been exposed to the illness and your milk will help fight off that infection. There are very few illnesses that require you to stop breastfeeding.
You can take acetaminophen or ibuprophen while breastfeeding. Decongestants and anti histamines are safe to take but be aware that they may cause a drop in your breast milk supply. Cough medicine such as Robitussin DM is safe to use. One natural remedy that I like to use (breast feeding or not!) is my netty pot. If you don’t already have one, go get one and make friends with it! It can take some practice (just like anything worthwhile), but it is so great for opening up those sinuses without drugs. Grapefruit seed extract and raw garlic cut into pill-size pieces and swallowed like a pill (Use a teaspoon of honey if you can’t hack the taste) are two of my other favorites for avoiding getting sick. I also get a garlic and vinegar tonic from Cheryl’s Herbs which is something you can add to soups and sauces or just drink it straight! When I am feeling a bit run down I also increase my probiotic intake and vitimin C. Cheryl’s Herbs also has this great Chinese Herbal tincture called Dragon Gallbladder Nose Pool. Now, I know this sounds kinda funny but it is incredibly effective for reducing mucus and it is not contraindicated for lactation.
In order to prevent illness, eat WELL and increase your fluid intake. Low indoor humidity during the winter can cause an increase in your fluid needs. Wash your hands before eating meals or snacks.
You can do this!
On a cold winter night there is something quite wonderful about cuddling up with your nursing baby:)
Happy Nursing, Sierra