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Thread: frequent colds normal for nursing toddler?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Default frequent colds normal for nursing toddler?

    I keep hearing from other nursing moms how their breastmilk is like a miracle prevention/cure for colds. My daughter (17 months old) seems to get sick whenever we leave the house. For example, she caught 3 colds in the last 2 months that lasted a week each and she's not even in day care! Ironically, since she became mobile at 7 months, she has gotten sick at my LLL meetings more than anywhere else! She nurses 3-5 times a day and gets colds twice as frequently as her cousin who has never had a drop of breast milk. We are even getting comments from people that they would have thought my milk should have kept her from getting sick so much. Well, THAT certainly makes me feel inadequate! What am I doing wrong or differently than these super healthy tots?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: frequent colds normal for nursing toddler?

    You're not doing anything wrong. Kids are gonna get sick regardless of how they are fed. It's true that breastmilk can protect them from some illnesses but it's because the antibodies you have in your body are passed through the milk to the baby. If you haven't had a particular virus (like a cold, of which there are millions of varieties) then your breastmilk isn't going to help your daughter against that particular virus. So basically you have to be exposed first before you'll have the antibodies in your milk to protect your baby.

    One thing to be appreciative of is that you have the best and easiest (IMO) means of calming and hydrating a sick baby. I always loved having the 'magic boob' that would fix any hurt and put a coughing baby right back to sleep at night. Since we weaned a few months ago my daughter has had 2 colds and believe me, it is soooooo much harder to sleep at night when I don't have that to calm her down. I also have to worry about whether she is drinking enough, which was never an issue while we were nursing.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  3. #3

    Default Re: frequent colds normal for nursing toddler?

    I'm in the same boat as you - DD has had three colds in the last 3 months. What's up with that???

    I totally agree with the PP - even if DD is getting sick, at least I have a really easy way to comfort her if she wakes up not feeling good, and half asleep-crabby. 5 minutes of nursing, and she's back down again.

    Its frustrating to hear all this good stuff about breastmilk preventing illness, and then have a sick babe, but maybe the next time someone makes a comment about how your milk is supposed to prevent illness you could reply, "Yeah, isn't it a GREAT thing that we're breastfeeing still? Think of how much sicker she might have been if we didn't. And hey, no ear infections yet, I'm really happy about that!"

  4. #4

    Default Re: frequent colds normal for nursing toddler?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mimismama View Post
    I keep hearing from other nursing moms how their breastmilk is like a miracle prevention/cure for colds. My daughter (17 months old) seems to get sick whenever we leave the house. For example, she caught 3 colds in the last 2 months that lasted a week each and she's not even in day care! Ironically, since she became mobile at 7 months, she has gotten sick at my LLL meetings more than anywhere else! She nurses 3-5 times a day and gets colds twice as frequently as her cousin who has never had a drop of breast milk. We are even getting comments from people that they would have thought my milk should have kept her from getting sick so much. Well, THAT certainly makes me feel inadequate! What am I doing wrong or differently than these super healthy tots?
    I totally agree with Norasmommy. Plus, colds are kind of inevitable to a degree. They lessen alot once lo's immune system is fully developed....somewhere between ages 3 and 6.

    Also, I just wanted to add that there are things you can do to reduce the amount of colds and such that she does get. You mentioned that she started getting colds after becoming mobile at 7 mos, and that she's gotten sick most often after the LLL meetings. I'm sure that in part, she's getting more colds simply becuase she has more access to the floor and more access to cool new things to pick up and put in her mouth too when you guys aren't at home. Plus, I'm guessing that at your LLL meeting, that there are other sick little babies there during the meeting, and if the kids are anywhere near each other playing, they're bound to be putting the same things in their mouths....sharing pacis and teether toys and the like. If you want to give her a break without colds for a little while, you could try finding a sitter for one of your upcoming LLL meetings....just to give her an extra week of being healthy IYKWIM.

    Other things that help:

    1. Wipe off grocery cart handles and seat areas with a sanitizing wipe before letting baby ride in them when you're out shopping. Most of the major stores in our town actually have wipes right there by the shopping carts for this purpose. When you have lo's who put everything in their mouths at that age, this really helps keep them healthier.

    2. When you're not at home, wiping off/washing off toys and pacis that lo drops on the floor.

    3. Keeping ill people at bay... It seemed like when my boys were little, the people with the horrible colds and coughs would always gravitate towards them and want to kiss them and hold their hands which baby would inevitibly stick in their mouths. Babywearing helped keep those people away, as did being blunt and outright telling some of them that they couldn't kiss baby, or hold baby's hand when they were sick.

    4. Keeping baby out of the toys at the pediatrician's office if your ped sees both healthy and sick children at the same office. In our waiting area, the sick kids and the healthy kids wait together and there's only one play area, so I don't let my boys use it. Maybe it's weird, but if I know the kids playing in the play area are sick enough to need to see a doctor, then it's pretty likely they'll be spreading something on to my kids I don't want them to have.

    5. Keeping baby up off the floor at places like doctor's offices and anywhere you aren't sure of.

    Also, if you have a chance to go to that LLL meeting alone(since you notice most colds after the LLL meeting), watch the other moms and their kids a bit. Sometimes you'll notice a parent who doesn't have the same health standards as everyone else....you know, the parent who takes their kids out to meetings and such even when their kids have fevers or have been vomiting... One of my friends is like that She and her husband frequently bring their very sick kids with them to gatherings even with fevers of 104. So anyway, I've learned to do a quick scan of a room and check to see if her kids are healthy...because if her kids are sick, chances are they could be VERY sick IYKWIM.
    Last edited by @llli*francis.breadandjam; December 4th, 2008 at 12:32 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    Default Re: frequent colds normal for nursing toddler?

    I gotta say that I nursed both my dd's (still am nursing dd2 at 21 months) and they seem to get the same amount of colds that other kids are getting. They are in DCP as I work and get exposed to lots of junk, though. I also get these colds. PP is correct - as long as you have not had that particular cold, then your antibiodies are not effective to prevent colds. However, my dds' colds were never severe and seemed over quicker than others - that I think is the benefit to BM. Keep it up. My DD1 is almost 4 years old now and she does not get sick nearly as much anymore [knock on wood]. It WILL get better.

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