In short, yes, you can continue to breastfeed even if you have food poisoning. This is because the bacteria affecting you live in the gut; it does not transfer from milk to your baby unless it’s in blood. So you’re safe to feed your baby as usual. In addition, studies have shown that the antibodies you develop transfer to the baby through the milk and increase immunity.
You went to a party to catch up with your friends. Of course, after having a baby, your life has changed a lot. You enjoyed and ate at your favorite restaurant. After coming home, you suddenly wake up from sleep feeling nauseous and having a severe gag reflex.
It turns out you got food poisoning. And now your baby has woken up from his nap, and he needs to feed. Do you think “should I breastfeed him while having food poisoning”?
What if he gets it? Millions of thought start racing in your because you care about your baby’s health.
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Nursing and caring for the baby when you have food poisoning
Being sick with food poisoning leaves you lethargic. You have a fever, feel nauseous, have short episodes of vomiting and diarrhea.
Food poisoning leaves you feeling dehydrated, but you have to feed your baby.
Your little one depends on you for food. There are a few positions you can try to breastfeed him when you feel like not getting up from bed.
- Keep your baby close to you where you are lying down. This way, you’ll be able to look for him and nurse him when he feels hungry.
- Breastfeed your baby in a lying position. So far, this is the best position approved by mothers on the internet. When you are feeling too lethargic to get up and sit for like 20/25 minutes, feed your little one in bed lying with him. It will take some time to master this position, but both of you will learn soon.
- Getting sick is normal; everyone gets sick. You don’t have to be too hard on yourself. Suppose you are unable to nurse your baby while being sick. Alternatively, you can use a breast pump. Dad can bottle feed the pumped milk to the little one.
- Get help from someone if you can. Call a friend or sister or anyone close to you. Ask dad to get a day off to take care of you and your baby.
When you get hit by food poisoning, it leaves you lethargic. You barely have the energy to get up for yourself.
Crying and hungry baby seems like a colossal task that seems impossible to achieve. It’s challenging to take care of a baby when you can barely take care of yourself. I can understand!
Treatment for food poisoning for breastfeeding mothers
I know you’re exhausted after getting food poisoning, diarrhea and vomiting drain you out.
Get yourself checked by the general physician as soon as possible. Please don’t take it lightly.
If the bacteria get into the blood, then you have to stop breastfeeding your baby. Bloodborne bacteria can travel to the baby’s gut.
If your doctor says that it’s safe to breastfeed your baby, then your bacteria is only in the gut. Take care of your well-being and prioritize yourself. When the mother is, the baby is healthy.
- Keep yourself well hydrated
- Wash your hands before touching your baby
- Take showers to get rid of bacteria
- Avoid solid foods and dairy products for some time
- Take fluids as much as you can but refrain from caffeinated and dairy drinks
Things to consider when breastfeeding during food poisoning
You can breastfeed your baby while having food poisoning but pay attention to the medication you’re taking. Certain medications can get into a baby’s body via your milk.
Let your doctor know that you are a lactating mother. Try to avoid medicines that reduce milk supply.
Food poisoning causes severe dehydration, and these causes reduce milk supply than usual. As a result, your baby might not get full. Keep yourself well hydrated.
If you feel that your breasts are not as full as they usually were, you can skip breastfeeding for a day.
Because producing milk also requires adequate fluid composition in the body. Take care of yourself. You might be thinking, “If I miss breastfeeding, then what will my baby eat”?
Well, you can give him more solid foods and only breastfeed him 1-2 times a day, or you can buy formula milk, an option to consider when you are skipping breastfeeding.
Preventing food poisoning while breastfeeding
No matter how much hygienic you are, food poisoning is something you cannot prevent. A casual drink or a short visit to someone’s house, you ate something and got that bacteria.
There are specific measures that can be taken to reduce the chance of being exposed to bacteria.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Wash all the groceries, fruits and vegetables.
- Use alcohol-based sanitiser when shaking hands or meeting someone.
- Clean the area where you change the diaper of your baby.
- Cook your meat completely at 160F is an ideal temperature. Eating raw meat can cause food poisoning.
- Keep the uncooked meat separate from cooked meat in the refrigerator.
- Check the expiration date before buying any grocery item.
- Check for reviews of a restaurant before going there.
- Refrain from using prepackaged food, especially meat items
- Do not store raw goods for a long time in your refrigerator. It starts to decompose and release harmful bacteria that can contaminate other food stored.
Can you breastfeed while sick with a stomach virus?
Yes! You can breastfeed as long as the bacteria is in the stomach. Get yourself checked and do as the doctor says. In rare cases, if the bacteria is bloodborne only, then you have to stop breastfeeding.
What can I take for an upset stomach while breastfeeding?
Generally, your doctor might prescribe some antidiarrheal medication like loperamide or Imodium. These medications are pretty safe to take while breastfeeding. Taking care of your diet is essential when you are suffering from food poisoning.
– You can also take yogurt. It contains probiotics (good bacteria) which will help kill harmful bacteria in your stomach.
– Green tea, mint tea, or chamomile tea helps treat stomach cramps and diarrhea.
Should I pump and dump if I have food poisoning?
No, you don’t need to waste your breastmilk. I mentioned that the food poisoning bacteria wouldn’t pass from you to your baby via breast milk. Pumping breast milk and storing it might be an easier way to feed your baby. You can pump milk, and the dad can bottle feed it to the baby while taking care.
Can diarrhea affect breast milk supply?
Do not skip breastfeeding for a long time, thinking that you’ll feed your baby after you recover from illness. This can decrease the milk supply.
Increasing the milking frequency of feeding sends a message to the brain to produce more milk. This makes you drink more fluids and eat more. This is a good thing; in this way, you can get into your normal routine.
No one can swear that you can’t get food poisoning. We are surrounded by a zillion types of viruses and bacteria, and it’s not uncommon to get infected by one.
Being a mother and taking care of your baby while being sick is indeed a challenging task to do. Breastfeeding, soothing a crying baby, and cleaning him up when you can barely wash your face, but you’ve to do it because motherhood is a lifetime job.
Just take care of yourself. Take plenty of fluids and salts. And if you are not feeling well, ask for help. Usually, diarrhea lasts for only 2-3 days, and then you’re back to normal.