Illness during breastfeeding

Ensuring your immune system is optimal during breastfeeding is a combination of adequate nutrient status, good diet, rest, relaxation, and just a small dose of good luck or good genes! The truth of the matter is, often the R&R component is somewhat lacking during breastfeeding.


Unfortunately, sometimes bugs do strike during breastfeeding, and if they do, there are some key questions you will have, namely:

  • Can I still breastfeed?
  • Can I breastfeed while taking natural medicines or pharmaceutical medications?
  • Which medications must I avoid?
  • Am I risking my baby’s health?

    The answers to these are given very much on a case by case basis. In most instances, it is best to continue breastfeeding through any illness, as the immune support and sustenance provided by your breast-milk is the best medicine you can possibly provide for your little one.


    The risk of your baby catching whatever you have is minimal in comparison to the vulnerability of taking your baby off the breast.


    There are only a few illnesses that require you to stop breastfeeding, always ask your midwife, GP, or lactation consultant if you have any doubts. If you require medication, always advise your health professional that you are breastfeeding.


    Many people have the misconception that “if it’s natural, it must be safe”, and while this is true to some extent, there are many natural medicines that are completely unsuitable while breastfeeding, and others that are beneficial.


    As in pregnancy, many women opt for natural remedies over pharmaceutical ones during breastfeeding, and there is much on offer that is both safe and effective, but must be prescribed by a qualified practitioner. Some illnesses specific to breastfeeding are featured here, such as mastitis and thrush, but any other illness will also have natural remedies that are appropriate, so contact our naturopath for more individualised treatment advice.

    Medications to be avoided include some antibiotics (others are safe), and be sure that while taking antibiotics you also take a good quality probiotic. This will reduce the detrimental effects on the gastro-intestinal system and immune system for both you and your baby.


    General immune support during breastfeeding

    • Probiotics
    • Zinc Protect/Zinc Supplement


    If you get a cold, ‘flu, sinus infection, candida overgrowth, urinary tract infection, cough, or other common infections, we can absolutely help. Please contact us immediately.


    Try to rest as much as possible, delegate jobs, call in the support troops, and look after yourself, as the stress of illness can impact on milk supply, and that causes more problems for you and your baby.