Sunday, April 19, 2009

How to treat a cold while breastfeeding

Welcome, Carnival of Breastfeeding readers! This month's Carnival theme is "how to" while breastfeeding. Enjoy!

I am one of those lucky people who rarely get a cold. I have an amazing immune system (thanks, mom, for nursing me for 18 months!) I work in a public library where everything is covered in germs and my hubby is a teacher. Despite this (or perhaps because of it), I almost never get sick. The 2007/2008 flu season was so major though, that even I caught the bug, and at the time I was nursing a newborn. I was miserable, but there are lots of ways to treat a cold that are compatible with nursing.

  • First, as with any cold, you want to drink a lot of liquids, particularly hot liquids if you have a sore throat or lots of mucous. The hot stuff helps to break up the mucous so you can get it up and out. I buy lemonade and heat it up in the microwave or sometimes the tried-and-true hot tea with lemon and honey. You can also take the opportunity to build up your milk supply and sip on some Mother's Milk tea with fenugreek.
  • Rest. I know, what a joke! How do you rest when you're mom and are breastfeeding? Take your baby on a "nursing vacation." Lie down in bed together and nurse frequently. Try to spend as much time in bed relaxing as possible.
  • Steam. Run a moist heat humidifier in the room with you and baby or run a hot shower and sit outside it and breathe deeply.
  • Gargle with warm saltwater. Great for sore throats!
  • Saline solution spritzed in the nose helps to clear out the gunk.
  • Time. Most colds really need a few days to run their course and before you know it, you'll be feeling brand new.

Now, of course these are all natural remedies and I prefer them to medication because I know they won't interfere with nursing. However, if you're really sick and need to see the doctor for a prescription, be sure to tell him or her you need a drug that is compatible with breastfeeding. There are plenty of medications that are considered safe for nursing moms to take, so don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you really think you need an over-the-counter medication to help with your cold or flu symptoms, there are some safe options like Benadryl and Robitussin. Here is a partial list of safe medications. Weigh these options carefully, though, as they may temporarily or even permanently reduce milk supply.

And don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't nurse your baby when you're sick! Breastfeeding while you are sick is one of the best things you can do for your baby because you are passing on your antibodies to your little one, and usually, they won't get sick. Just be sure to wash your hands often. And feel better soon!

Here are the other participants' posts in this month's Carnival.

Mama Saga: How to Breastfeed (Or Just Look Like You Know What You Are Doing)
Tiny Grass: How to Tandem Nurse Without Driving Yourself (And Your Nurslings) Crazy
The Marketing Mama: How to Pump Successfully at Work
babyREADY: How to Get Baby to Take A Bottle
Motherwear: How to Help Your Baby Kick the Nipple Shield Habit
Amber @ How to Get Breastfeeding off to A Good Start
Baby Carriers Down Under: How to Breastfeed Hands-free
Breastfeeding Mums Unite: How to Become A Breastfeeding Support Professional
Milk Act: How to Care for A Sick Nursling
Maher Family Grows: How to Increase Breast Milk Supply Using Supplements
Breastfeeding Mums: How to Wean A Breastfed Toddler
It's All About the Hat: How to be Comfortable Around a Breastfeeding Mother
Mama Knows Breast: How to Get A Spouse to Help With Breastfeeding
MoBoleez: How to (Naturally)Increase Your Milk Supply
Zen Mommy: How to Use YouTube to Stop Nosey Questions
Happy Bambino: How to Deal with Family Members Who Aren't Supportive of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding 1-2-3: How to Teach Your Baby Nursing Manners
Natural Birth & Baby Care: How to Improve Milk Supply Through Nutrition

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