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The flu season is in full swing and it’s not slowing down. Many of us do everything we can to keep from getting the flu. But, unfortunately sometimes that nasty little flu bug makes its way into our lives.

Here is the big question that I receive from my patients. “Is it safe to breastfeed when I have the flu?

The answer to that question is YES – it is safe to breastfeed your baby even while sick with the flu. There is no need to stay away from your baby when you are diagnosed, because your baby was exposed to the flu before you started having symptoms. When you have the flu, your breast milk has flu antibodies. These antibodies will help prevent your baby from getting the flu. If your baby does get the flu, it is most likely that he or she won’t become as sick.

Continuing to breastfeed is important because it is the most superior nutrition for your baby. It is recommended that you wash your hands frequently and try not to cough or sneeze on your baby while nursing. You may even consider having a healthy caregiver feed the baby. The most common medication prescribed for the flu is Tamiflu. It does cross into your breast milk, and the effects of Tamiflu on infants are unknown.  We recommend discussing with your doctor and pediatrician whether or not you should take Tamiflu while breastfeeding.

If you are pregnant and do not currently have the flu, it is especially important that you get a flu shot as soon as possible.

If you would like additional information, here are some helpful resources: 

Brandi Jalbert,
L&D SNAP, St. David’s North Austin Medical Center

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