Breastfeeding With Diarrhea

WARNING  Women who are breastfeeding should avoid drugs that contain bismuth, such as Pepto-Bismol and Kaopectate (bismuth subsalicylate – active ingredient) due to the association of salicylates with Reyes Syndrome in children. WARNING

Diarrhea Relief Tips

All breastfeeding mothers succumb to the horrors of diarrhea at some point. Breastfeeding with diarrhea may cause you to start worrying about the health of your child. However, proper hygienic measures often prevents diarrhea from spreading to the baby. Most cases of diarrhea go away on their own in a couple of days.

Common causes of diarrhea while breastfeeding include:

  • Eating or drinking foods and beverages contaminated with certain bacteria, parasites or viruses.
  • Spending time around other young children, can spread organisms such as rotavirus.
  • Taking antibiotics for conditions such as mastitis.
  • Cesarean section delivery
  • Stress and anxiety about your breast milk supply

You do not need to stop nursing your baby if either of you has diarrhea.  Diarrhea from food poisoning will not result in the bacteria or viruses entering your breast milk and harming your baby. In fact, breastfeeding through illnesses like diarrhea is a good idea. It will allow your baby to receive your antibodies through your breast milk. These antibodies protect your baby against infection with the same organism.

Decreases in your breast milk supply are not unusual if the diarrhea lasts more than a day or if you develop vomiting in addition to the diarrhea.  It is extremely important that breastfeeding mothers remain hydrated to maintain the quality and quantity of their breast milk supply. If you are having difficulty in keeping fluid down call your doctor immediately.

If you suffer from and upset stomach or diarrhea while breastfeeding here are a few diarrhea remedies you can try:

  • Use proper hand washing and household hygiene.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Eat simple foods, like the BRAT Diet
  • Avoid sugary, caffeinated and alcoholic drinks.
  • Refrain from consuming foods or beverages containing artificial sweeteners.
  • For breast pumps, wash your hands before and after pumping to avoid contaminating the milk collection bottles and breast pump parts.

If a bacterial infection is the cause of your diarrhea it may be necessary to take prescription antibiotics. Make sure your doctor prescribes a medication that is safe for breastfeeding.

Find Out More About Medicine and Breastfeeding:

Finding Safe Medications While Breastfeeding

Herbal Remedies and Breastfeeding

What is a Galactagogue?

Meditations to Avoid While Breastfeeding

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