We’ve been hearing hype about H1N1 for months now, and it seems to be just this past week that it has hit in force in Indianapolis.  I know two families who have been quarantined with H1N1, and my friend who works at Riley Hospital says it’s just full of kids with H1N1 right now. Also last week, the classrooms at both of my children’s schools just emptied out.  My kids and I have also all been sick with symptoms matching the H1N1 symptoms list.  Of course, we don’t know how much of this sickness going around H1N1 or another virus, and we’re not going to know, because most people are not going to be tested:  Many never visit a doctor, and many who do seek medical care receive treatment for flu symptoms without ever  being tested for H1N1. But regardless, there’s enough H1N1 around that if you get sick right now, you’ll probably at least wonder if what you have is H1N1.

So what happens if you get sick while you are breastfeeding? Here are the current guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics for breastfeeding with H1N1:

17. Can mothers who have swine flu continue to breastfeed?

  • The influenza virus is not transmitted by breastmilk.
  • Mothers who believe they may be infected should be sure to wash their hands before breastfeeding.
  • Be sure to use clean burp cloths, and consider wearing a face mask.
  • Parents and caregivers of infants under 6 months of age should receive the flu shot to prevent illness.

Full Article [General info about H1N1 flu prevention, symptoms, vaccine, etc.]

Taking care of a baby while you are sick

Trying to take care of a baby when you are weak and feverish makes it starkly clear just how hard you have been working to take care of your baby.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help in those moments!  When you are ill,  it is reasonable to ask your spouse or another loved one to take a day off work and take care of you and your baby.   You may not be able to do it on your own! Let your loved one do the heavy lifting of diaper changing, cooking, and cleaning, while you rest in bed and nurse your baby when your baby whenever your babies needs it.   Assuming your baby is old enough to have gotten the hang of nursing, nursing is a relaxing and enjoyable way that you can still care for your baby even while you are sick.

I am wishing for a mild flu season for all of us!