Breastfeeding Help - Supercharging Supermom: Tackling Tiny Troubles


Over the years, countless ladies have been fed the wrong dish, convinced to put an end to their superhero breastfeeding journey. But wait, the plot thickens! The decision to don the cape and continue breastfeeding, even when Mom's got a date with medicine, isn't your run-of-the-mill superhero movie. No, no, it's a blockbuster! We're talking about more than just a dash of medicine in Mom's milk. It's about considering the risky business of not breastfeeding for Mom, baby, the whole family, and maybe even the universe. There's a bunch of baddies lurking in the shadows when you don't breastfeed, so the ultimate question is: Does adding a tad bit of medicine to Mom's milk make breastfeeding riskier than switching to the formula side? The answer is almost never. Breastfeeding with a sprinkle of medicine is almost always the safer sequel. So, playing it safe equals keeping that cape on, not stashing it away. The same epic showdown goes down when either Mom or the sidekick (baby) falls under the weather.

Just to keep things interesting, here's a twist! Hitting pause on breastfeeding for a week or even just a few days might accidentally trigger an epic quest for the baby's bottle. And trust me, some babies can make that bottle disappear faster than a magician at a kids' party. Plus, it might sound like a piece of cake, but juggling pumping with a crying baby and thwarting chaos like a pro isn't always as easy as it sounds!

Mom's Kryptonite (Illness)

If you thought Mom had to hang up her cape when the villain known as illness strikes, think again! There are very few bad guys that can take down Supermom. Especially when it comes to those nasty infections, most of them are caused by viruses and strike before Mom even knows she's part of the sick club. By the time Mom has a fever (or other suspicious symptoms), she's probably already handed over the "infection of the day" to her little sidekick. But guess what? Breastfeeding is like a magical shield that can protect the baby against these nasty invaders. So, keep your shields up, and the baby is less likely to turn into a villain. It's like superhero insurance! Bacterial infections like "strep throat" are also no match for the breastfeeding duo.

Milk Magic (Antibodies in Breastmilk)

Sometimes, Mom's got these tricky "autoimmune diseases" that make her body produce antibodies against her own team. Now, some folks have given her the old "don't breastfeed" advice because they think those antibodies sneak into her milk and create chaos in the baby's world. Well, that's pure fiction! The antibodies in breast milk are like the good guys who protect the baby from harm. They go by the name "secretory IgA." Autoimmune diseases are not their arch-nemesis, and even if they were, these antibodies are just too crafty for the baby to absorb. So, sip on that, little superhero!

Super Boob Squad (Breast Problems)

· Ever heard of mastitis? It's like a little "breast infection." But guess what? It's not the end of the world, not even close! In fact, the superhero breast tends to heal faster when Mom keeps the milk flowing on the affected side. It's like a special power-up level! (Hint: Check out the "Blocked Ducts and Mastitis" side quest.)

· And then there's "breast abscess," which sounds like a super-villain's hideout, but it's not the end of the world either. Even on the affected side, breastfeeding can continue, albeit with a bit more difficulty. You see, surgeries on lactating breasts aren't the easiest puzzles to solve. But stopping breastfeeding won't necessarily make things simpler. It's like dealing with a tricky riddle. So, you might want to guide the surgeon away from making incisions near the areola. That's where milk production happens, and we don't want to mess with that! There's also the option of avoiding surgery by using nifty tricks like needle aspiration and antibiotics. No capes needed!

· Did someone say "Any surgery"? Well, that's another myth busted! Breastfeeding doesn't have to be on hold just because Mom's having a little surgical adventure. General anesthesia, too, isn't the arch-nemesis of breastfeeding. Mom can get back to breastfeeding as soon as she's back from her superhero dreams. And remember, you can dry up on one side if needed. So, there's no need for a full breastfeeding shutdown. Some surgeons might not be aware of this magical power, so consider giving them a friendly heads-up!

· Now, for the exciting sequel - "Mammograms." Sure, they might be a bit trickier to read when you're breastfeeding, but they can still play a role in your adventure. But here's the twist: You don't have to wait until your breast is completely non-lactating to get a reading. There are alternative quest routes for evaluating any suspicious lumps. So, discuss your options with your medical sidekick. Let them know that keeping up with the breastfeeding saga is crucial to your plotline!

Baby Bumps and Surprises (New Pregnancy)

Spoiler alert: There's no reason to hang up your cape just because there's a new superhero on the way. You can totally keep breastfeeding while pregnant! It's not going to harm you, the baby in your belly, or the little one who's nursing. If you decide to call it quits, no rush! Just remember that pregnancy might make the milk flow slow, and your sidekick might take a break of their own.

Mini Sidekick's Illness

If your mini-sidekick is facing a classic villain like "Diarrhea and Vomiting," don't worry, it's just another level in the game! Exclusive breastfed sidekicks are well-equipped to handle these situations. The best strategy is to keep the breastfeeding train running. It's like their secret weapon for a swift recovery! Most of the time, they don't need any extra potions, unless it's a rare quest.

And then there's "Respiratory Illness." Now, there's a myth that says kids shouldn't have milk when they're dealing with respiratory troubles. But we're here to tell you that it doesn't apply to breast milk! So, keep that milk flowing. It's like a magical elixir for your little hero.

And now, "Jaundice." This one's a common character in our story, especially for exclusively breastfed babies. It might sound like a villain, but it's more like a "mellow yellow" stage. Most of the time, it's completely normal, and you don't need to cancel the breastfeeding show. But hey, if breastfeeding is acting up, fix it! Don't shut it down completely. Stopping breastfeeding isn't the hero's way. It's like using dynamite to put out a candle. Remember, a sick baby doesn't need less breastfeeding; they might just need a little extra dose of the good stuff!

If you've got a burning question that we didn't cover, don't assume it's time to hang up your cape. Keep the show going! Moms have been told to stop breastfeeding for some of the craziest reasons, and we're here to keep the breastfeeding adventure alive.


Questions? Email Jack Newman at, or Edith Kernerman at or consult: Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding (called The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers in the USA) or our DVD, Dr. Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding; or The Latch Book and Other Keys to Breastfeeding Success; or L-eat Latch & Transfer Tool, or the GamePlan for Protecting and Supporting Breastfeeding in the First 24 Hours of Life and Beyond.  See our website at  To make an appointment email and respond to the auto reply or call 416-498-0002.


Handout You Should Continue Breastfeeding (2)  May 2008
Written and Revised by Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC 1995-2005

 This handout may be copied and distributed without further permission,
on the condition that  it is not used in any context that violates
the International WHO Code on The Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes


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