I have a book called "Breastfeeding Answers Made Simple." I refer to it as my big book of answers, and it really covers EVERYTHING in its 864 pages (index not included). Starting now, I'm going to be flipping to a random page and writing about the issues printed. My goal is that by reading this blog, you'll learn everything you need to know to successfully breastfeed and get over any hurdles that may block your path.
The topic: Illness In the Breastfeeding Baby. Colds, flu, ear infections, and breathing problems. I'm obviously not a doctor, so take everything here and use some common sense. If your babe is sick for more than 3-5 days, and seems to get worse over time rather than better, go to your doctor. My solutions here are to get your baby to nurse, which should help him/her get better. If it doesn't, it might be more serious than just a cold.
With colds, flu, and ear infections, there's usually a lot of fluid build up in the sinuses, which may make nursing difficult. But don't worry! There are solutions to nurse your stuffed up baby. To start, keep baby upright in a sling or in your arms so the sinuses can drain a bit. If that doesn't quite do the trick, use a bulb syringe to suck out the ickies.
You can breastfeed in an upright or laid back position to facilitate breathing, and I've even found that nursing for a short while in a position where baby's head is tilting back slightly can cause the milk to come out the nose, thus clearing out some of that fluid build up. Looks gross, but it is quite effective.
If baby is refusing to nurse because (s)he is struggling to breathe, you might try pumping and feeding baby with either a bottle or a cup, and still frequently offer the breast. Squirting your breast milk up baby's nose can help clear it up, and squirting it in baby's ears (many times a day) can help kill the infection within.
A warm, steamy shower can help loosen up those fluids, and it's a lovely experience to sit in the shower and nurse a babe. One of my favorite things to do when my kiddos have gotten colds.
My next post will be on stomach illnesses, so stay tuned (and if I fall behind, somebody poke me!).