Please settle an argument. My husband thinks it's not ok to nurse when i have a stomach virus, that I might pass it to my son who so far seems healthy. I disagree. The boy is 8 months old, do I still have antibodies?

asked 12 Feb '10, 09:11

Anne%201's gravatar image

Anne 1
accept rate: 0%


I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean: "do I still have antibodies"?

(12 Feb '10, 10:36) brandstaetter

Depending on what type of stomach flu you have and if your infant received the standard vaccinations in the US, he might already be immune:

(12 Feb '10, 14:59) Kiesa ♦

@brandstaetter: breast milk contains antibodies that help the baby fight off infection. I had read somewhere that the antibody content drops off after 6 months.

(I'm the same person, I just wasn't logged in before. Does anyone know how to associate this question with me?)

(13 Feb '10, 01:48) Anne

I think that's false information - As far as I know and have read, antibodies are always present in the milk, especially if the mother is sick. So, nothing better than to keep nursing to prevent your child from getting sick too!

(14 Feb '10, 12:40) brandstaetter


You should definitely continue breastfeeding. Below is a quote from this article on the excellent kellymom website:

The best thing you can do for your baby when you're sick is to continue to breastfeed. When you have a contagious illness such as a cold, flu, or other mild virus, your baby was exposed to the illness before you even knew you were sick. Your milk will not transmit your illness to baby, but it does have antibodies in it that are specific to your illness (plus anything else you or baby have been exposed to) - they'll help prevent baby from getting sick, or if he does get sick, he'll probably not be as sick as you. Withholding your breastmilk during an illness increases the possibility that baby will get sick, and deprives baby of the comfort and superior nutrition of nursing.


answered 12 Feb '10, 10:03

Meg%20Stephenson's gravatar image

Meg Stephenson
accept rate: 7%

edited 12 Feb '10, 11:31


+1 great quote!

(12 Feb '10, 13:57) Emi

Excellent! Every mother should be aware that their milk contains the 'medicine' (antibodies) that help their baby cope with illness!

(12 Feb '10, 14:21) Adam Davis

As an example, our family pretty much went through every common illness over the last 3 months (multiple flus, stomach flu, colds, etc) and our nursing 10 month old only had very mild symptoms of illness. Not nearly as bad as the other kids, one of whom had to be hospitalized for breathing issues related to the flu. Keep nursing!

(12 Feb '10, 14:24) Adam Davis

+1 I agree 100%!!

(12 Feb '10, 16:31) Fun2Dream

I think my guy did catch the stomach flu but it was so mild we could hardly tell. And probably because of the antibodies, yay!

(13 Feb '10, 01:49) Anne

Here is some more information about antibodies and breastfeeding older babies from Dr. Jack Newman's website.

He says that there are health benefits far beyond 6 months. This is from his page on breastfeeding a toddler:

Even after six months, it still contains protein, fat, and other nutritionally important and appropriate elements which babies and children need. Breastmilk still contains immunologic factors that help protect the child even if he is 2 or older. In fact, some immune factors in breastmilk that protect the baby against infection are present in greater amounts in the second year of life than in the first. This is, of course as it should be, since children older than a year are generally exposed to more infections than young babies. Breastmilk still contains special growth factors that help the immune system to mature, and which help the brain, gut, and other organs to develop and mature.

From personal experience, my husband and I both had H1N1 a few months ago. I breastfed our baby the entire time and he had absolutely no symptoms of the illness.

So like the others have recommended, keep breastfeeding!


answered 13 Feb '10, 05:32

cat_g's gravatar image

accept rate: 25%

edited 15 Feb '10, 01:14


1+ Woohoo for nursing until their 2!

(13 Feb '10, 18:08) Neen
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Asked: 12 Feb '10, 09:11

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Last updated: 26 Dec '10, 13:40