Breastfeeding, Postpartum

When Mom Gets Sick

This post is a follow-up to the When Baby Gets Sick post, because we all know that baby is not the only one who gets sick. For those of you who live anywhere in a relatively northern climate, you feel my pain when I say this is the winter that will never end. With this forever winter, it seems that illness just keeps rotating through. Before baby, if I were feeling under the weather, I could lay around and binge watch Parks and Recreation for the 8th time. I didn’t have to do ANYTHING. But as we have talked about in previous articles, EVERYTHING changes when baby comes crashing through your life like Kool-Aid Man. In the almost 11 months since Ellie has been on this planet, I have had four or so encounters with illnesses. I don’t know if this year has just been an off year or if it’s because Ellie is in daycare and I am around more diverse illnesses than previously, but it certainly has been a shock to my system. I have not been this sick in years. Right after Thanksgiving, both Zach and I got nailed with a stomach bug. Thankfully Ellie was well enough to still go to daycare because Zach and I could barely peel ourselves off the couch. In fact, we both had to drive Ellie to daycare in case we had to swap out drivers. Now, the big difference between dad being sick and mom being sick is while Zach could lay down and sleep his illness off, I still had to get up every 3 hours to pump (or nurse) in order to keep my supply up. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal but when you’re that sick, even changing the station seems feels like running through molasses.

Something I found frightening (that is probably obvious to most) was that my supply dropped significantly while I was sick. I thought that my milk was drying up. While it wouldn’t be the end of the world, discontinuing breastfeeding wasn’t exactly what I wanted nor had planned for. Thankfully, I reached out to a lactation consultant who comforted me by saying this is completely normal. The important thing is that I continued to pump and my supply would return to where it was in a couple days. Additionally, if there is anyone in your support system you can shoulder tap to help out with baby while you convalesce, consider it. It will help you recover more quickly and keep baby occupied while you try to get some rest.

Getting sick sucks, parent or not. But when you are a mom, you don’t get to phone it in. Your job is still there in a laughing, active little being. I’ve had some medical professionals (as well as Kristin) share a great website, LactMed, with me that has helped me identify what types of medications are safe while breastfeeding. It is also an app which is super helpful when you are dragging your sweatpant-clothed body through the Target pharmacy.

Stay well and take care of yourself!

~Karen

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