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Bronchiolitis and Breastfeeding

During winter time, bronchiolitis is the most common chest infection that affects babies and children under the age of two. It’s usually mild and can be treated at home, but sometimes it can be serious.

How do I know if my baby has bronchiolitis or a simple cold?

The early symptoms of bronchiolitis are similar to a common cold, but when the situation get worse, these are the symptoms:

– Breathing more quickly

– Noisy breathing (wheezing)

– Finding it difficult to feed, they have difficulties to keep sucking

– Becoming irritable or very sleepy and less active

– Possibly with fever (however this isn’t always the case)

What shall I do if my baby it’s been diagnosed with bronchiolitis?

Once your baby it’s been checked and diagnosed with bronchiolitis there are two possibilities:

A) Your baby will be discharged: If your baby has been checked and you are fortunately able to go home:

My TOP 5 recommendations to maintain breastfeeding your sick baby are:

1. It’s possible that your baby needs to be fed more often and for shorter periods of time.

2. The immunisation that you have in your milk will help your baby to fight against the virus and recover more quickly.

3. Breastmilk is also a powerful pain reliever.

4. Your baby might prefer to breastfeed in a koala position or a carrier due to the increase of mucus. It’s possible your baby struggles with laying positions.

5. If you try to breastfeed your baby in a different position and they are still not comfortable, I would recommend pumping if it’s necessary and offer the baby your breastmilk with a bottle.

B) Your baby needs hospitalisation: If unfortunately, your baby needs to stay at the hospital, and you can’t feed your baby directly from your breast:

My 5 TOP Recommendations to maintain breastfeeding your sick baby:

1. If your baby is being fed through an IV tube, save as much milk as you can until the baby recovers and you can start feeding with a tube or directly from the breast.

2. It’s very important to protect your milk supply and express breastmilk every two or three hours.

3. If at home you’re using a single or manual pump, try to get a double electric breast pump; in most hospitals they have them. At this point it is a good idea to double pump rather than to single pump.

4. Try to maintain and follow more or less the same feeding pattern you’ve been following.

5. Finally, but just as importantly, try to keep yourself active and do not forget to take care of yourself; eating proper meals and resting as much as you can. It’s very tiring and stressful having a baby in hospital for days, and with some rest it’s easier to face some situations.

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