Can I breastfeed when I am ill? Can I take medicines if I am breastfeeding?

Can I breastfeed when I am ill? Can I take medicines if I am breastfeeding?

In Hong Kong unless the mother is HIV carrier or infected with AIDS, breastfeeding can continue even when the mother is ill. And for hepatitis B carrier mothers, as long as the baby receives hepatitis B immunoglobulin and hepatitis B vaccine at birth, followed by 2 more doses of the vaccine at 1 month and 6 months old, it is safe to breastfeed and needless to worry about transmitting the virus through breastmilk.

For most illnesses, like a cold or flu, as long as you have good personal hygiene, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask; the chance of infecting your baby will be greatly reduced, and you can continue breastfeeding. In fact, when you are ill, your breastmilk will have antibodies in it and with breastfeeding your baby will be protected from the same illness. If you are too ill to take care of your baby, you can express the breastmilk to feed the baby.

Almost all medicines taken by mother have only minimal amount detected in the breastmilk. There is no harm to your baby, so it is safe to continue breastfeeding. However, before taking any over-the-counter medicine or herbal drugs, you should consult your doctor first. If your doctor recommends you to stop breastfeeding while taking the medicines, then you should stop breastfeeding temporarily. However, you should still express or pump out the breastmilk from time to time to maintain the milk supply, so as to prevent duct blockage or mastitis (i.e. inflammation of the breast tissues). Resume breastfeeding after you stop taking the medicines.