Nursing A Sick Baby

How do I help my baby eat when we’re not feeling great?

Nursing a sick baby takes finesse and a lot of patience, especially if you are sick as well. First, we need to determine why baby is sick. If your baby has a chronic health condition, a major illness or is recovering from surgery, please seek personalized breastfeeding support from a qualified lactation consultant.

If baby has a minor illness, read on:


  • One of the really cool things about breastfeeding is that a mother’s body is a super force. Whatever germ the infant has, the mother gets exposed to it and her body immediately starts producing antibodies to that specific germ. Not only does mother get those antibodies, but baby gets them from her breast milk as well. So, the most important thing to remember when nursing a sick baby is to keep nursing!


  • If you little one has a stuffy nose, try a few saline drops in the nose to loosen up mucous, then suction baby’s nose with Nosefrida (a product we love) right before a feeding to make baby more comfortable.


  • Try nursing baby in an upright position so fluid does not interfere with the ears or sinuses. This can make baby uncomfortable. Mother can lean back comfortably with her feet up. Baby can straddle mom’s belly in an upright position (almost like he/she is riding a horse) with baby’s belly and mom’s belly touching. Another comfortable position is a side lying position. These positions are great for babies with ear infections, as well.


Baby may decide to eat more frequently and sometimes baby may pop on and off the breast frequently. Most of all, sick babies will want more snuggle time with mom so a good baby carrier will take you far. Adjusting your expectations of how nursing will be when your baby is sick is a must. If you know what you’re in for, you’ll be more mentally prepared to battle it.

Still have more questions about nursing your baby during a minor illness? Reach out to one of the healthcare professionals on our team for specific advice for your situation.


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