Everyone can catch a cold and, unfortunately, a nursing mother as well. Along with weakness, headache, and temperature, a mother often gets painful doubts and reflections whether to stop or keep on breastfeeding the baby. Is it possible to effectively cure a cold while breastfeeding? Can mothers take cold medicine while breastfeeding? How to make it safe for the baby? How to protect the child from contracting a viral infection? All these questions bother every nursing mom.
Detection and Course of a Cold
A cold is an acute respiratory disease caused by various viruses. Cold occurs through the upper respiratory tract. A breastfeeding mother is especially prone to Acute Respiratory Diseases (ARD), since her respiratory organs work with a constant load. Production of milk requires a lot of oxygen.
It takes usually from 1 to 3 days for the penetration of the virus into the body and its further development into the disease. Therefore, it’s clear that the child receives the causative agent of the disease with the breast milk before the appearance of visual signs of the cold. Along with the agent of the disease, the child receives antibodies to it and special enzymes of this pathogen for the production of its antibodies, as well as full immune protection against possible complications. By the time a mother detects that she is ill, the child is either already sick or actively immunized.
Symptoms of a Cold a Nursing Mother May Have
- High temperature
- A runny nose or nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Sneezing, coughing
- Sometimes stuffiness or noise in the ears
Usually, the cold lasts no more than 10 days. But you should not neglect the disease since there is a possibility of complications and further exacerbations of chronic diseases.
Previously, having a cold, the nursing mother had to choose whether to take medicine while breastfeeding or to stop breastfeeding. Today, this rule is not relevant, since there are quite enough safe medicines. Remember the main thing – the treatment of cold during lactation should be competent.
The Rules of Behavior While Having a Cold During Breastfeeding
At the moment, if a nursing mother finds out that she is having a cold, doctors recommend observing the following rules:
- Do not try to wean the baby, whether they are healthy or already sick. It will instantly affect the lowering of the baby’s immunity. The disease will acquire a heavy nature and last much longer.
- Feed naturally. There is no need to pump the milk out.
- You don’t need to boil the breast milk. This will deprive it of many nutritional and, in this case, medical properties.
- During the mother’s illness, the baby receives all the necessary medicines through her breast milk.
Pay attention to the following information! As a rule, the infection of the baby with microorganisms transferred to them with the breast milk from a sick mother plays a big role in the formation of their immunity. Next time the child will cope with the disease much easier or will not get sick at all.
The Means of Treatment of a Cold While Breastfeeding
There is one main rule in the treatment of a cold while breastfeeding. This rule is – safety for the child. There are two options for treatment: medicines and home remedies.
The treatment of ARD during breastfeeding should begin as early as possible. Feeling the first signs of the disease, you need to consult a doctor who can recommend appropriate therapy.
If you need a prescription of a certain antibacterial agent which doesn’t combine with breastfeeding, then breastfeeding should be stopped for the duration of treatment. Mom should pump the milk out.
What a Nursing Mom Shouldn’t Do:
- Take any medication without making sure that it is safe;
- Exceed the permissible dosages;
- Self-medicate if the fever has risen.
First of all, the process of taking cold medicine while breastfeeding should be safe for the baby. Mother’s milk can transfer a small part of medicines. Wait for at least 2 hours between the intakes of medicine. If there is a need you can schedule treatment and feeding or use pumping. It is easier to do this if the child already receives supplements. Then the time between feedings can be increased by a few hours.
Despite the absence of a ban on the intake of many cold medicines while breastfeeding, it is necessary to know the following:
- Be careful with medicines that contain aspirin. A large concentration of acetylsalicylic acid can disrupt the metabolic processes in the body of both the mother and her baby.
- Analgesics negatively affect the child’s nervous system.
- Do not treat a cough with drugs based on bromhexine.
- Do not start treatment without reading the instructions and recommended dosage of medication beforehand.
- If the nursing mother gets sick, it is better to consult a pediatrician about preventive measures for the baby.
- The baby may be prone to allergic reactions. In this situation, the mother should take antihistamines during treatment.
If the mother’s condition is severe and she needs to take the drugs forbidden during lactation it is necessary to pump out breast milk every 4 hours to maintain its production. The common cold lasts about a week and this is not a reason for stopping breastfeeding completely.
Cold Medicine While Breastfeeding. The Tactics of Treating Cold During Breastfeeding
It is necessary to ask the doctor how to treat cold and how to use cold medicine while breastfeeding. Consultation with a specialist is a must if the high temperature remains for more than 3 days. If the symptoms develop at an increasing rate, for example, the sore throat becomes worse and a painful cough appears, then you need to visit a doctor for sure.
It is necessary to follow general recommendations for treatment of ARD while breastfeeding. They include the intake of medicines and home remedies.
- Bed rest. It is obligatory, even if the disease is transferred easily. It is important to give your body rest during the period when it fights with an infection. The absence of bed rest usually prolongs the period of recovery and increases the risk of complications, in particular, bacterial infections.
- Drink a lot. It is necessary not only when the temperature is high but also to alleviate the condition in general. During the development of viruses, the body receives the products of their vital activity – toxins. They cause headaches, weakness and so on. The consumption of a large amount of liquid removes toxins from the body and reduces their negative impact. Drink liquid in a warm form: tea, fruit drinks, etc. Add raspberries, honey, lemon if the child does not have allergies.
- Home remedies. The effectiveness of some home remedies for cold treatment has been proved by the research of European specialists. For example, tea with honey and lemon can relieve pain in the throat. An excellent means to maintain body strength is low-fat chicken broth.
- Eat when you are hungry. Do not force yourself to eat. You can even consume only light chicken broth and plenty of drinks. It doesn’t affect the quality of breast milk in any way.
Protection of the Baby While Taking Cold Medicine and Breastfeeding
The development of a cold raises many questions. The most important of them is: how to protect the baby from infection? Unfortunately, the one and only true means of protection against the disease simply doesn’t exist. At the same time, you can reduce the risk of your baby catching a cold if you stick to the following recommendations:
- Keep on breastfeeding. Breastfeeding during the period of mother’s illness is the main safety factor for the baby. With breast milk, they will receive a response to a virus attack from your body. By breastfeeding the baby you pass them your immunity. It will protect them from the development of ARD or will facilitate the course of the disease in many times.
- Wear a protective mask. According to pediatricians’ opinion, the use of a protective mask does not exclude the possibility of infection of others but reduces it. The fact is that the virus begins to show its activity not since the development of the common cold or a cough but two days before. Therefore, if the mother is sick it can almost certainly be said that the baby has already met with the pathogen. However, the use of a protective mask by the mother will reduce the concentration of viruses in the baby’s environment. Change the protective bandage every two hours.
Wash your hands
The transmission of a viral infection occurs by air and by contact. Its main source is mucus from the nose which you wipe with a handkerchief or a napkin. A huge number of viruses remain on your hands, so before you approach the baby, wash them with soap. This prophylactic measure is sufficient to prevent infection.
There are a lot of safe ways of treating a cold during lactation. A mother can take cold medicine while breastfeeding but only after the consultation with a doctor. The main thing is to be careful and observe the exact dosages if you are taking cold medicine while breastfeeding. And remember that there is no need to stop breastfeeding, even if you have to give your baby artificial feeding for some time.
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