Severe illness

Did my milk supply go down because I’m really sick?

Severe illness before or around the time of delivery can prevent a mother from establishing a normal milk supply or cause it to come in late. Severe illness while breastfeeding can reduce the milk supply. Colds, influenza, and stomach flu generally do not affect milk supply. As long as mothers keep breastfeeding through these less serious illnesses, there should be no long-term problems.

A) The effect of severe illness on breastfeeding

Severe illness of any kind around the time of labour can result in the milk coming in late or in the milk supply always being low.

Severe illness while breastfeeding can temporarily or permanently reduce the milk supply.   

The illness must be severe to cause these effects. Examples include:

  • Major physical injury as from a car accident
  • Illness severe enough to result in:

B) The effect of mild illness on breastfeeding

Colds, influenza, and stomach flu generally do not affect milk supply. At worst, they result in a short-term, minor decrease in supply. As long as mothers keep breastfeeding or expressing effectively through the illness, there should be no long-term problems.