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Does Breast Milk Change When Your Baby Is Sick?

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-04-15      Origin: Site


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Even when your baby isn’t fighting a virus, your breast milk has a baseline of elements that help protect your baby from illnesses and infections. First, breast milk is full of antibodies. These antibodies are highest in colostrum, the milk your baby receives at birth and during the first few days afterward. The antibodies also continue to be present in your milk the WHOLE time you’re nursing your baby, even if you nurse well into toddlerhood or beyond.

Your milk also contains a blend of proteins, fats, sugars, and white blood cells that work to fight infections. Other immune-boosting elements include lactoferrin, lactadherin, antiproteases, and osteopontinTrusted Source — antivirals and anti-inflammatories that help keep your baby’s immune system strong.

According to the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM), there is strong evidence, too, that breast milk changes when you’re sick. When a nursing parent is under the weather, antibodies against that infection begin to be produced immediately and are found in breast milk.

What about when it’s your baby who catches the bug first? ABM notes that disease-fighting elements start to increase in breast milk in this case as well. So the answer to “Does your breast milk change when your baby is sick” is, “Yes !”


Tips for nursing a sick baby

Nursing can be more challenging when your baby is sick. Your baby may be fussier than usual. They may want to nurse more or less frequently. They may also be too congested to nurse. Here are some tips for getting through this tough time.

If your baby is too stuffed up to nurse, consider saline spray or using a bulb syringe to clear the mucus before nursing.

Keep the humidifier running to loosen mucus; you can also nurse your baby in a steamy bathroom.

Nursing in a more upright position can also help with a congested baby.

Often, sick babies will want to nurse more frequently; try to go with the flow, knowing that you can get back into a routine once your baby is better.

If your baby is sleeping more than usual and nursing less, offer the breast right when they wake up, or even in the middle of a nap.

If your baby seems too lethargic to nurse, you should call their pediatrician: it’s very important that your baby stays hydrated while sick.

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