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Breastfeeding While Sick


Should I stop breastfeeding my 11 day old if I have a stomach bug?

This is an important time to continue nursing. Formula will never be able to replicated the immune protection provided by breast milk. Stomach viruses (viruses that cause gastroenteritis) typically enter an individual through their gastro-intestinal tract. Breast milk contains Immunogloblin A which provides gut immunity. Meaning your breast milk provides your infants best protection against this virus.

Many parents question if they should hold or feeding there children when sick. Reasoning that they do not want to expose loved ones to “their illness”. However, chances are that your baby is already exposed.

You may need to supplement with formula while sick. Depending on your level of illness and hydration status, the sickness could decrease your milk supply. Drink lots of extra fluids to make up for increased losses. If needed, have your husband offer 1 to 2 ounces of a milk based formula.

Could your symptoms be secondary to medications? Antibiotics often cause diarrhea and pain medications can lead to nausea. Are there other sick family members?

Take your infant to the doctor if she gets sick or if she is feeding less.


Written July 2011 by
Dr. Gordon, Windermere Pediatrician


 is intended to help parents understand the needs and behaviors of children. The information presented in the site is the opinion of Gregory Gordon, M.D.and does not reflect the opinion of his partners. This website is owned exclusively by Doctors insights LLC. The advice in this site does not apply to all children. Always consult your healthcare provider for your individual needs.

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