You know what's not fair? Falling ill when you're a mother. There really should be a law against it. But let's face it; generally, mamas are at the germ-filled frontline.
This is especially true for breastfeeding mums. We're the ones that get covered in vomit/snot/dubious bodily fluids 24/7. It's no wonder really that we end up with the lurgy ourselves.
Thing is, you can't just stop breastfeeding because you feel like rubbish. Very few babies (or toddlers for that matter) will accept a 'sorry, mummy doesn't feel like feeding right now, can you leave me alone to sleep for 12 hours?' So what's a boobin' mama to do?
We've pulled together our best tips to help you survive, at least until the Ibuprofen kicks in!
First things first though. Is it actually safe to breastfeed when you're unwell? The good news?! Generally, YES, it is absolutely safe to breastfeed with the majority of common illnesses (think colds, flu, stomach bugs, fever and mastitis). In fact, thanks to the antibacterial and antiviral elements of breastmilk, your baby will be given a potent dose of protective antibodies each time they feed. With less common illnesses, breastfeeding is often still possible, except for in the case of a few very rare conditions. It's always handy to speak with your GP however if you have concerns.
According to HealthDirect, the majority of common, over the counter and prescribed medications are safe to take while breastfeeding. Paracetamol, ibuprofen, some antibiotics, non-drowsy antihistamines, asthma medication and decongestant nasal sprays are generally considered safe to take while feeding.
Try and avoid: Antihistamines that make you drowsy and/or contain fexofenadine and cetirizine. Medications that contain pseudoephedrine. Medications that contain Iodine. Strong painkillers that contain codeine and/or tramadol.
Your best bet? Speak to your GP or pharmacist.
Image source: The Thud
Breastfeeding when you feel like death is not fun. Unfortunately, short of employing a wet-nurse, it's something that you'll have to grit your teeth and push through. The best way to manage?
As a breastfeeding mama, you'll know that your milk supply is an ever-changing beast. Whether sickness will impact your supply really depends on the type of illness, how long it lasts, how old your bub is and what your usual supply is like. A short illness generally shouldn't impact your supply to any great extent, especially if you're still feeding regularly.
A stomach bug or illness where you struggle to eat and/or keep down fluids may be more problematic, but ensuring that you stay as hydrated as possible will help. If your baby becomes fussy or frustrated waiting for a letdown while you're sick, you can try breast compressions or gentle massage to help get your milk flowing a little faster.
If you need help or advice, you can contact The Australian Breastfeeding Association helpline on 1800 686 268.
If you need to give your supply a boost post sickness, check out our range of natural (and delicious) milk boosters here.
If you've got inverted nipples you may have worried that breastfeeding was going to be tricky, if not impossible! Thankfully, that is not always the case and many women successfully breastfeed with nipples of all shapes and sizes, included inverted ones!
Here are 5 tips for breastfeeding successfully with inverted nipples.
We've always known that the Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump is a pretty amazing tool to have as a breastfeeding mama and learning about this clog busting tip just confirmed it's status as a total hero product. By combining the gentle suction of the Haakaa with the heat from warm water and drawing abilities of Epsom salts, you can effectively clear blocked and clogged ducts.
Here's how to do it.
Mastitis. It's the dreaded breast infection that, at best can leave you shivery and aching with a burning hot boob that is agonising to feed from and, at worst, in hospital hooked up to an IV. Eeeeek! There's no getting around it; mastitis is nasty. Here's how to manage and treat the infection (and prevent it from occurring!)