Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Seasonal Flu and Breastfeeding

on March 10, 2014


When it comes to the seasonal flu or influenza, it is encouraging to remember that breastfeeding offers your baby protection from all respiratory infections in both specific (antibodies) and non-specific ways.




You and your family can reduce the risk of contracting and spreading the flu by following these steps:

  • Wash hands frequently (or use hand sanitizer in the absence of soap and water)
  • Do not share drinking glasses or eating utensils
  • Be conscientious about not touching your face, nose and mouth when out in the community
  • If you cough or sneeze, use a tissue or handkerchief. Don’t cough or sneeze into your bent elbow, as some health experts recommend for other people who have the flu, because that puts the virus too close to where you hold a breastfeeding baby’s head.
  • If someone in your family or workplace is ill, please avoid attending events (such as LLLC meetings) where you might be around pregnant women. Remember that you can spread the illness before you have any symptoms.


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What if you become sick? 

It is important to continue nursing so your baby gets the antibodies you are making in response to the flu.  There are very few medical conditions which would require a mother to wean her child.  Many mothers worry that they will need to wean if they get a cold or the flu. This is NOT true.  To help protect your baby: wash your hands frequently and avoid coughing near your baby.


What if you need to take medication?

Most medications are safe to take while breastfeeding, but it is wise to check on specific medications to be sure. If you are told that you cannot breastfeed while taking a medication, ensure this advice is supported by evidence. A decision to interrupt breastfeeding should be based on accurate information.  You can contact your local La Leche League Leader for more information specific to your situation as she has access to current resources on medications and breastfeeding. As your own baby’s advocate, you should double-check that your healthcare provider is using up-to-date information and resources to confirm any recommendation for breastfeeding interruption or weaning.

by Nicola Aquino and Fiona Audy, La Leche League Canada


If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking  or Internationally  







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