It was the night before Christmas, I was sitting on the living room floor doing some last minute wrapping when a wave of dizziness hit me. Furrowing my brow, I shook my head, drank a glass of water and shook it off. Then the saliva in my mouth thinned, my jawline started to quake and I got to my feet, running full speed to the bathroom just in time to sink my face into the porcelain.
After emptying the contents of my stomach into the toilet, I got up with a few thoughts in my head. My first thought was more of a worry. I wondered if the IUD was doing it’s job, if something had possibly gone wrong and if I were pregnant, only a short three months after giving birth to my daughter.
The memory of her delivery was still fresh in my mind, my body still wasn’t completely back to normal, and I was no way ready to partake in this journey again.
My second thought was that maybe the chicken I had put in my Chicken Alfredo pasta was past it’s prime and this was my body’s way of letting me know.
My third thought was about breastfeeding. I had been told by my doctor that I could pretty much breastfeed through almost any illness. However, certain medications can affect your breastmilk supply. So a lot of the time you will have to just soldier on through certain sicknesses, if you plan on breastfeeding while sick. I am not one to take medication for a cold, but stomach related things I usually try and take something.
Diarrhea and vomiting are two things I try and put a stop to as quickly as I can, and these were two very aggressive symptoms I was experiencing.
Although digestive aids such as Tums are safe during both pregnancy and nursing, medicines like Pepto Bismol aren’t recommended for nursing moms. This meant that I was going to try and power through with lots of water, some ginger ale, a bucket and high hopes.
My symptoms started at 8:45ish in the evening. I was running to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes. After vomiting for the 6th time, I started to get the chills. Cladding my thickest robe and fuzziest socks, I slowly made my way to bed. Between waking to get to the bathroom, chills, and hot flashes, I got maybe about an hour of sleep that night. Luckily, my daughter slept right through the night.
My hope was that I would wake up, stomach and bowels empty and feel more like myself.
The soft coos of my daughter roused me at around 9am. I summoned the small amount of strength I had to get over to her, but my arms were shaking. I didn’t trust myself to even attempt to pick her up. I woke my husband, told him he was on Daddy Duty, ran to the bathroom before climbing back in bed.
This was not the Christmas I had been expecting.
I spent most of the day sleeping, running to the bathroom, and breastfeeding. I had a FaceTime call with my family, my husband had gone over to bring their gifts and bring home some food.
Being as sick as I was, I definitely have some tips for you mommies with a young baby going through it.
This is one of the times when breastfeeding really came in handy. It was so much easier to just lay her in bed beside me, sleep while she ate and have my husband take her when she was done. Although, if your baby is formula fed, it would eliminate baby’s contact with you all together, allowing you to get some rest… so either feeding method provides benefits.
Breastfeeding your baby through your sickness would be giving your baby the antibodies it needs to fight off the sickness you are currently battling, and lessens the chances of them catching it in the first place.
Feed your baby until they are full so they are more likely to nap.
Drink lots of liquids. Ginger Ale can help soothe an upset stomach, water is best, and Gatorade and Powerade are good if you can’t keep anything down.
Throw out a lifeline. This is the most important thing you can do if you have a sickness you need to sleep off.
If your partner is not available to help you for the day, reach out to someone else who can. Having someone around to keep baby busy and entertained between feedings and naps will help you get all the rest you need.
Outside of those things, I would suggest making sure any medications you take don’t have an impact on your milk supply in any way if you are feeding, try and limit face to face contact with your baby (my daughter loves kisses and chewing on my face, so this was something I had to keep her from doing).
Hang in there, we may be superheroes, but we are not super human and we get sick sometimes. It will pass!