Can a mother with typhoid continue breast feeding her baby?

Typhoid spreads through contaminated water, food and direct contact with an infected individual. It is caused by the bacteria known as salmonella typhi. The common signs and symptoms of typhoid include headache, fever, stomach pain, constipation and diarrhea. Appetite loss, body ache and lethargy may also occur. Typhoid fever is treated through antibiotics and in most cases, the symptoms start subsiding in a matter of few days. There are vaccines against typhoid but they are not known to be completely effective. These vaccines are usually beneficial for individuals who may have suffered exposure to the infection or are visiting areas where the disease is prevalent.

A breastfeeding mother can continue to feed her baby even during sickness. The baby will have already been exposed to the germs and the mother’s body produces antibodies which help to protect the baby from the illness. These antibodies are passed from mother to baby through the breast milk and hence it is important for mothers to continue nursing. It is advisable to take other precautions such as avoiding face to face contact. Good hygiene should also be maintained while handling the infant. Mothers can continue to breastfeed in the event of any of the following illnesses;

  • Food poisoning
  • Common cold, Influenza
  • Measles, Chickenpox
  • Cholera, Typhoid
  • Lyme Disease
  • Hepatitis

The antibiotics which the mother takes for any sickness can be transferred to the baby through breast milk. This may lead to bouts of baby diarrhea, stomach cramps and pain or colic. The child may also become desensitized to certain antibiotics and may not respond to them in future instances. These instances, however, are rather rare. But the benefits of breastfeeding are much greater than the temporary unpleasant effects and hence mothers are always advised to keep nursing even in times of sickness.

answered by G M

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