What to Eat When Breastfeeding Sick Baby? It is widely acknowledged that breastfeeding holds immense significance in bolstering a baby’s immune system. But then this advantage appears to diminish when the baby itself is being subject to some disease.
Milk is produced from the mammary glands, and its quality and nutritional value usually depend on the mother’s diet, medications taken after delivery, and sometimes even the quality of the container in which the milk is stored. Since breast milk is the primary source of nutrition for a child in its early stages, we can assert that a modification in the mother’s nutritional intake can significantly impact the child’s ability to fight off diseases.
Well, Breastfeeding and human milk cannot be underestimated for their crucial role. They are inherently programmed in a way that they can sense and detect the pathogens that are in your baby. Every time your little one latches on your boob, their saliva transmits information about any disease and the immune system in their body to your milk. Consequently, the composition of your milk shifts all the essential nutrients and antibodies to aid your baby in fighting the disease.
Breastfeeding in itself can be exhausting. Particularly when your baby is unwell, making it a much more energy-demanding task that’ll disturb your physical, mental, and emotional space. Yet, the best you can do as parents is to aid your baby’s speedy recovery. Offer the best skin-to-skin cuddles and ensure they get ample rest. To be frank, that is what your little one expects from you as well because in their eyes, the whole world is uncharted territory and they continue to smile because you are their only compass they can depend upon.
1. What if You Are Ill and Your Baby Is Healthy?
However, it’s an entirely different story if you are the one feeling under the weather, not your baby. This is a situation that shouldn’t overly concern you. The greater the diversity in your diet and the more challenges your body faces during your breastfeeding period, the broader the spectrum of information that gets transferred into your baby’s immune system.
This doesn’t mean you should voluntarily put your body through excessive strain to immunize your baby against every disease in the world by breastfeeding. Nonetheless, you can rest assured that your breast milk will contain the antibodies to reduce your child’s risk of getting the same illness that is in you.
But then your primary focus should be on taking care of your hygiene such as catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, washing your hands frequently and before touching your baby, preparing a clean and sterilized atmosphere for your baby while breastfeeding and changing nappies, etc.
Also, it is generally accepted to take mild medications like paracetamols or some antibiotics while breastfeeding. However, it is advised to consult a healthcare professional or your child’s doctor before doing so. These mild drugs might adversely react to your body interacting with your regular medications.
2. Breastfeeding after Your Baby’s Illness is Diagnosed
If you observe any unusual or concerning reactions in your baby, seek a thorough evaluation by a healthcare professional. The following infant care tips and home remedies might come in handy. But then it is crucial to understand that relying solely on them is not prudent when it comes to your baby’s well-being. Ensuring your baby’s comfort is paramount and consulting a doctor can relieve you from further stress and anxiety you may experience as a parent.
Here are some common diseases or infections that might get hold of your babies, along with some suggested home remedies for treatment and disease control.
2.1. Sore Throat
This is one of the most common infections found in babies, often occurring as an aftermath of the flu. The reassuring aspect when it comes to a sore throat is that this does not affect the quantity of milk babies consume. Babies consuming less milk is a big concern when it comes to any illness in a baby. Nevertheless, you might want to get a little creative and feed your breast milk in ways that can soothe your baby’s throat.
For instance, consider freezing your breast milk and offering it as breast milk popsicles. Also, sometimes feed them frozen fruits. Occasionally, allowing your little one to nibble on a frozen washcloth can alleviate the irritation. You can deviate from your usual routine of latching your baby onto your breast. Store your milk in the fridge to cool them off to serve them chilled later along with other cool liquids and juices.
2.2. Common Cold or Flu
It is every parent’s nightmare to witness their infant battling the flu. It can directly impact their nursing pattern and can inevitably lead to many sleepless nights. Well, not just for the baby but even for the parents because what baby lets their parents sleep when they are awake?
The symptoms of a common cold can include a blocked nose, runny nose, or stuffy nose. Sneezing, coughing, and sometimes even mild fever can come along with a cold.
For starters, you can try cleansing your baby’s nostrils thoroughly with a warm cloth after a gentle hot shower. And before breastfeeding try to clear any mucus from your baby’s nose using a bulb syringe or nosefrida. Make a simple adjustment to your baby’s cradle or crib orientation. Lift the head area about a few inches, this can bring some relief while the baby rests.
As discussed, it is unsurprising that your baby will not be able to consume much breast milk. So don’t anticipate your baby to cling onto your breasts like they usually do while you sit down for breastfeeding. Instead, try offering your breast more often than usual, recognizing that the key to addressing this issue lies in compensating for the reduced milk intake with much more frequent and shorter sessions of feeding.
Sometimes during such sessions, you might want to try alternating between direct breastfeeding and using a bottle. Both these methods work using different mechanisms. Given the increased frequency, it is advisable to maintain variety in feeding styles, preventing monotony for your baby.
Ear infections can be challenging to diagnose at home. Also, you might not know why the baby is creating all the unnecessary fuss. Earaches are painful and especially breastfed babies tend to take less milk per feeding when they have an earache. It is advised to consult your baby’s healthcare provider immediately as they can recommend a suitable medication like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or any antibiotics that might work well for your baby’s age and weight.
The precautions that can be taken at home for breastfeeding are similar to common flu. Offer more nursing sessions and also try filling up your breast pump in between feedings to keep your supply stable. Use a syringe to deliver expressed milk. And while holding your baby try positions like the football hold, upright position, or opposite side-lying position to keep pressure off the affected ear.
As your babies grow, they become more mobile and naturally curious about the world around them. They embark on their own exploration journey. And in this journey, they might also come across a few problems. Getting exposed to dirty corners and unsanitized surroundings, your little ones might get introduced to certain bacteria and viruses. And it is possible that such exposures can lead to diarrhea.
If the diarrhea is because of a virus, the virus can persist in the baby’s system for two weeks or more. Additionally, adverse reactions to certain medications or allergic food can also trigger diarrhea.
Also, it should be noted that it is normal for babies to have loose, yellow, and running stools. This alone cannot be your baby’s symptoms and a good indicator of diarrhea. However, it is precautionary to assert caution whenever you notice yourself changing diapers more frequently than usual and notice watery stool.
Carry a towel in handy to save your furniture and non-waterproof materials from your baby’s sudden and unexpected bowel movements. Moreover, avoid putting pressure on your baby’s tummy. Also, avoid forcefully positioning them in a way that can trigger them to soil their diaper.
Regarding diet, if your baby has been introduced to eating solids, try the BRAT diet – Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. Also, offer small and more frequent feedings rather than longer ones to hydrate your baby.
3. Tips to Improve the Effect of Breastfeeding when Your Baby is Ill
While you ensure vigilance with all the food you eat and track its nutritional values, have an eye on your water intake, as it holds equal importance for the mother and baby, especially when you just started breastfeeding your child. This becomes particularly crucial when your little one is not subjected to solid food and is solely dependent on your milk.
When it comes to sick babies, make an effort to undress your baby and place them on your bare chest while breastfeeding. Similarly, during nights when you have to put your baby to sleep, do the same procedure and try to make sure that your baby doze off on your body. This skin-to-skin contact between your baby and you is miraculous and can work wonders. It can boost your milk supply, and the exchange in body temperature will induce a sense of relaxation and comfort in your child.
4. What to Eat When Breastfeeding Sick Baby: Essential Nutrients To Incorporate into Your Diet for Optimal Nourishment for Both Mother and Child
It is a common misconception that calcium is a mineral with a role solely in building bones and teeth. While it is true, we must understand that calcium serves many more functions within our body. Calcium holds critical importance when it comes to building body strength, helping nerves carry messages to and from the brain, assisting in the movement of muscles, releasing hormones and enzymes in our body whenever needed, etc. Hence, you must be cautious regarding the calcium proportion in your diet.
Also, it must be noted that if there isn’t enough calcium in your diet while breastfeeding, your body might suck out some calcium from your bones to nourish your baby’s bones and nervous system. This will be a case of literally giving out your life to save your child. However, your body will naturally extract calcium from your own body regardless of your intake of the same through food. But then managing this transfer of calcium is under your control.
You can keep a target of 1000mg of calcium per day. And you can achieve that by adding the following to your diet schedule:
Opt for skim or low-fat milk on your favorite cereal and complete the meal with some cheese and yogurt. Also, incorporate fresh orange juice into your routine and try including oranges in your diet as well. If you enjoy greens, consider adding broccoli to your meals for an excellent source of calcium. If you find it difficult to reach your targets on certain days consider having a calcium supplement handy to eliminate the fear of doubt.
4.2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
As an adult, you must already be aware of the importance of Omega-3 in your diet. Now it is time to understand that the same benefits extend to your babies. And you must add a good amount of omega-3 into your diet.
Enjoying good fats like these can result in a healthy. Omega-3 can also mitigate the risk of cancer for both you and your baby in the future. Furthermore, it is equally important for the development and growth of your baby’s eyes and brain.
The most important omega-3s are EPA and DHA, and they are predominantly found in fatty fish, meat, and dairy. You can include sources of seafood in your diet, focusing on fish breeds such as salmon, swordfish, and mackerel. But among all the breeds, tuna is considered ideal for a breastfeeding diet.
A good alternative for vegetarians can be walnut flax seeds and some omega-3 fortified eggs.
4.3. Folic Acid
You must’ve come across Folic acid when you were pregnant. Your doctor must’ve advised you to maintain a daily intake of 500 micrograms to prevent any birth defects and for a healthy heart in your baby. Extend this habit of consuming the same levels while breastfeeding as well.
Incorporate an ample amount of black-eyed peas, eggs, and avocados in your daily salad along with spinach and asparagus to your regular diet routine to maintain adequate levels of folic acid in you and your baby.
5. A Few Final Tips
While water may not directly boost levels of your milk supply, it is essential to stay hydrated for your body to recover from the physical stress of childbirth and can also prevent further complications like mastitis. Clear urine can serve as an indicator of sufficient water intake.
Consider having oats, fennel, and fenugreek for more milk supply, and also try having some lactation cookies that you get in the market.
It is better to avoid regular consumption of alcohol and caffeine. There are chances that heavy caffeine intake might make your baby feel fussy. Alcohol not only results in less milk supply but can also mess up your sleep schedule. And your irregular sleep can have an impact on your child’s health.
6. Always Have An Eye on Them
To sum up, everything you eat is transmitted to your child while breastfeeding them, and if your baby is allergic to a specific type of food that you are consuming, it might show up as an illness in your baby. It is essential to be vigilant enough to take a grasp of the problems your baby is trying to communicate. Inform your baby’s healthcare professionals immediately, and based on their opinion, any food causing trouble should be eliminated from your diet.
In short, you can cure as well as create diseases with the kind of food you incorporate into your diet. According to the diagnosed illness, continue breastfeeding while involving yourself in the skin-skin method and bathing the baby in steam, etc.
Your breast milk is a life-giving elixir and you have the power to mend its benefits and uses according to your baby’s needs. Embrace your power as a creator and nurturer of your little one. Don’t stress about your baby’s illness. Recognize your ability to heal your child and take charge effectively.
I believe that every topic in the world is an opportunity to craft a compelling narrative. As a passionate movie enthusiast and dedicated reader, I have written several short film scripts and possess ideas I aspire to transform into written literature. The genres that intrigue me the most are those related to human drama. With an insatiable curiosity and love for storytelling, I delve into diverse topics, ranging from technology to travel, literature to lifestyle, and everything to absolutely anything.