Frequently Asked Questions - Illness

Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should avoid travel to areas where the Zika virus is found. What about someone who is breastfeeding? Should they keep breastfeeding if they may be infected?

As of this writing, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has indicated that breastfeeding should continue. Please find the most up to date information here: www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html  or www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6502e1.htm 

General information is available at http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/ and The Public Health Agency of Canada  

If you have any health concerns about yourself or your nursling, please contact your health care provider for personal advice.

With Ebola in the news on a daily basis, mothers may be searching for information about the safety of breastfeeding.

The likelihood of anyone in Canada being infected with Ebola is extremely small and, therefore, the chance it would be a breastfeeding woman who becomes infected is very remote. The recommendations around breastfeeding in Ebola affected areas are continuously changing as more information about the virus and transmission is gathered. Please see the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for the most current information.

If you have specific concerns about your own health, please contact a health professional.

A baby cannot be allergic to his mother’s milk. Your milk is made specifically for your baby. If your baby is showing signs of food sensitivities it is most likely a reaction to something you have eaten. If you suspect your baby is reacting to something you are eating, you can try stopping that food for a short period of time to see if it helps. If you do not notice any improvement, contact your local La Leche League Leader for more information.

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; she has access to current resources on medications and breastfeeding. As your own baby’s advocate, double-check that your healthcare provider is using up-to-date information and resources to confirm any recommendation for breastfeeding interruption or weaning.

Most likely not.  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.  It is important to continue nursing so your baby gets the antibodies you are making in response to the cold or flu. To help protect your baby: wash your hands frequently and avoid coughing near your baby.

To encourage, promote and provide breastfeeding, chest feeding and human milk feeding support and educational opportunities as an important contribution to the health of children, families and society