Mama's Turn to Get Sick
Posted By: Nancy Horn
After struggling with breastfeeding my first two children, I'm extremely optimistic about a more successful experience with my third and hope to make it to at least six months.
Right after Skylar recovered from his first cold and my 5 year old and my 3 year old had their colds, both my husband and I both finally got our colds. We both had coughs and nasal congestion. While my husband downed Nyquil without a second thought, I needed to research what I could take. I didn't want to take anything that would hurt Skylar or lower my milk supply. For example, I knew that pseudoephedrine will dry up your milk just as it dries up your mucus so I would obviously avoid that.
Going online, I was able to find names of over-the-counter drugs that were supposed to be safer for breastfeeding and took the list over to a local pharmacy for official confirmation. I'm so glad I did because the pharmacist didn't agree that the drugs on my list were compatible with breastfeeding and advised me not to take any of them. I ended up just taking good old acetaminophen for my various aches and the natural remedy of honey for my cough. I didn't use the saline nasal spray that I bought to loosen my congestion because luckily it cleared up quickly. In the future, I would also consider using a neti pot for nasal irrigation which is an ancient Ayurvedic method of using saline water to flush your sinuses. I'm told it sounds weirder than it is.
A day or so later, I noted that my milk supply was down. I was confused as well as annoyed because I nursed constantly while Skylar was sick and then while I was feeling lousy. I didn't want my supply to go down, I've worked too hard for this!
To get my supply back up, I started drinking my nursing tea, pumped and took fenugreek supplements again. Luckily, my supply went back to its normal level the next afternoon. I wasn't sure what happened as I still had nursed as much as usual. I turned to a friend who is a lactation counselor for advice who suggested that I probably hadn't been drinking as many fluids as I usually do, which makes sense. She also recommended power pumping which is pumping for ten minutes on and off for an hour once a day for a few days or a week.
Since then I have been trying to drink more water and trying to pump and nurse as much as possible. I'm also starting to bank some milk for when I'll be attending a convention in a month and will have to spend some time away from my little man.12:00pm on Friday February 18
It's so hard to find products that are definitely safe for breastfeeding. I even worry about skin care products and that sort of thing. I may be being overly cautious, but obviously the last thing I want is for something bad to affect my baby--especially when I'm doing something that's supposed to be helping her, nursing. Good luck. I am sure you will bounce back quickly! I've also found that pineapple and oatmeal (even oatmeal cookies!) help with boosting supply.
Drinking sufficient water is very important. Also, oatmeal is good for keeping your supply up. Just plain ordinary oatmeal, eaten during the day. And bonus: you can feed the other kids with it too!
I'm really surprised your cold affected your nursing supply so quickly, I wonder if it was bc you were dehydrated slightly? And I highly recommend the neti pot!! So helpful if its just a cold!
Keep going, you're doing great! I've found nusing easier with each child (and have nused longer).
We're dealing with this right now! Sick momma and two sick kids. It's hard...crappy sleep, bad appetites, snot everywhere! I especially feel for my babe, it's so hard for the wee ones to nurse when they're all stuffed up.
Beef broth with lots of vegetables and barley will help keep up your supply while you're sick.
Try the squirt bottle version of the neti pot--way easier. NeilMed makes kits with the solution included. They help you avoid getting sick again too--daily use rinses out some of the bacteria & viruses that you've inhaled, keeping the population down to a level that your immune system can fight easily.