Breastfeeding and the Flu

Iris, 22, is a new mother and asks The Doctors if she gets the swine flu, will she pass it onto her 1-month-old through breastfeeding.

Preventing Swine Flu

To help stay safe from the swine flu, follow The Doctors’ simple tips:

• Cover your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze.

• Wash your hands diligently.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

• Avoid close contact with infected people.

• Stay home when sick.

“If a mother that’s breastfeeding develops the flu, regular flu or swine flu, it’s actually very rare to pass the virus through the breast milk,” Dr. Jim says. “What you will pass through is antibodies, which will actually help the baby. If a mom gets sick, it’s actually good to keep breastfeeding.”

“You can sometimes pass viruses,” Dr. Lisa says. “We worry about this more with HIV. We don’t know how much with this virus. A lot of doctors will suggest that you not do the first morning feeding, and pump because there will be more of a load in there. If you’re sick, consult your doctor. As far as pregnant women, you shouldn’t go to any places that are hotbeds [for the virus] right now. It’s the same precautions as with the flu, as far as vaccines. Pregnant women can’t take live vaccines, but they should use the same precautions as with the flu.”

Read more information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about breastfeeding while sick with H1N1 virus.