Breastfeeding FAQs

I am being sick, is it safe to carry on breastfeeding?

Yes, your milk will help protect your baby from getting the same illness or at least make it milder. As with most illnesses the antibodies you are making to fight the infection will be passed to your baby via your breastmilk.

Back to top

For vomiting and / or diarrhoea try drinking water or other clear drinks to help you keep your fluid levels up. Even small amounts of fluid taken regularly will help. You don’t need to eat food to keep making milk. Your breasts may feel softer but you will still have enough milk. Your baby may want to feed for shorter times but more often when you are ill. If you feel ill stay in bed (if you can) and feed your baby.

See your GP if you are not feeling better in a few days.

Back to top

My baby is being sick, can I carry on breastfeeding?

Yes, not only will your milk help your baby to recover more quickly, it is so easily digested it is easier for your baby to absorb the calories and goodness from your milk than any other fluid.

Breastfeeding is also very comforting for your baby when he is ill.

More information here ( external website).

Back to Top

I haven’t managed to stop smoking although I have cut it down while I am pregnant, Would my baby be better being fed formula or is it still worth breastfeeding? I would like to keep cutting down on cigarettes but just knowing I could have one if I needed to would help.

It is still much better to breastfeed if you smoke. Your milk will protect your baby from some of the effects of smoke. If possible limit your smoking to after a feed and go outside if possible to keep the smoke to a minimum (this holds for breastfeeding and bottle-feeding). Consider using nicotine patches to reduce your need for a cigarette, these are safe to use while breastfeeding and will reduce the amount of nicotine in your breastmilk. It is important to avoid smoking in the same room as your baby.

Download the Breastfeeding Network Smoking and Breastfeeding Information sheet.

Download the Breastfeeding Network Nicotine Replacement Therapy and Breastfeeding information sheet.


Back to top

I have been diagnosed with postnatal depression and told I have to stop breastfeeding my 3 month old daughter, have I any other options?

Yes, see the information sheet on postnatal depression and antidepressant use in breastfeeding (PDF 93KB) Most of the new drugs are not licensed to be given to breastfeeding women. However there is information about the amount of the drug which will reach the baby through breastmilk.

Other options include counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, exercise or just being kind to yourself. It is important that you enjoy your time with your baby so please don’t be put off taking medication. Breastmilk with a small amount of drug is very beneficial. Some people think that formula would be safer but this isn’t true. It may be that breastfeeding is all that you feel good at, at the moment. So concentrate on looking after yourself and your baby but accept help with routine tasks.

Most drugs can be taken during breastfeeding and only small amounts usually pass into breastmilk but you need to discuss this with your GP, Pharmacist or check it with us via Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline & you can also email


Back to top

Will I be able to breastfeed if I need any medicine after my baby is born? I have to take levothyroxine and am worried that my baby will get too much.

Yes you can certainly take levothyroxine. The amount you are taking just replaces what your body isn’t making. See our thyroid medication and breastfeeding  fact

There are answers to some other questions on NHS Choices; common breastfeeding questions (external website).


Back to top