7 Home Remedies For Strep Throat While Breastfeeding

Strep throat or streptococcal pharyngitis is a painful throat infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria (1). It causes inflammation and swelling of the lymph nodes and tonsils and can pass to others. Hence, if you contract strep throat when breastfeeding, you may want to know if the infection can pass on to your lactating baby.

Strep infection in babies is uncommon, though it is possible to acquire it. Hence, precautions should be taken if a nursing mother contracts the infection.

Read on to learn if you can breastfeed if you have a strep throat infection, the precautions to take during the lactation period, and some home remedies to help manage and cure strep throat effectively.

Is It Safe To Breastfeed While Having Strep Throat?

Breastfeeding protects the baby against infection

Yes. You may continue to breastfeed your baby as usual, even if you have a strep throat infection. Breast milk contains antibodies. As a mother’s body produces antibodies against strep throat infection, they may be passed on to the baby through breast milk.

The Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation says (2), “Breastfeeding protects the baby against infection, and the mother should continue breastfeeding, in order to protect the baby. If the baby does get sick, which is possible, they are likely to get less sick than if breastfeeding had stopped.

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that breast milk protects babies against several respiratory diseases (3). Therefore, a mother should continue to breastfeed unless instructed by a doctor against nursing. However, you need to take precautions that the infection is not spreading to the baby through other modes. 

Precautions While Breastfeeding With A Strep Throat

Strep throat is a contagious bacterial infection. Nursing mothers with strep throat need to observe a few precautionary measures to negate the chances of spreading the infection to their little ones (4).

  • Maintain hygiene by washing your hands thoroughly before breastfeeding your baby.
  • Avoid kissing or cuddling them.
  • Use a face mask while breastfeeding.
    Use a face mask if you have strep throat while breastfeeding newborn
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief when sneezing or coughing. Tissue papers can be disposed of, and thus may be preferred over a handkerchief.

Treatment For Strep Throat When Breastfeeding

Strep throat is treated with antibiotics.

  • Amoxicillin or penicillin is commonly prescribed for treating strep throat. However, the effects of maternal doses of penicillin on a breastfeeding baby are unknown (5).
  • The antibiotic amoxicillin is considered safe to administer to a nursing mother. The American Academy of Pediatrics considers amoxicillin compatible with breastfeeding since the maternal dosage is not known to cause any effect on the infant (6).
  • The mother may consider having ibuprofen for relief from pain and fever. Ibuprofen is considered safe to administer while breastfeeding (7).
    Mother may consider taking ibuprofen

Remember, never self medicate for strep throat while breastfeeding. You should have medicines only when prescribed by the doctor and as per the doctor’s instructions. Medicines may have side effects, and you may discuss them with your doctor.

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Your pediatrician or doctor may prescribe you a safe antibiotic other than amoxicillin. If you have a strep throat infection, but without symptoms or the symptoms do not cause you significant discomfort, then the doctor may not prescribe any medication. You can follow some measures at home for optimal recovery and good maternal health.

Home Remedies For Strep Throat

Home remedies may be followed with or without medication. Below are some home remedies that may help alleviate the discomfort caused by strep throat.

  • Rest and care: Sound sleep and proper rest may help reduce the discomfort caused by a strep throat.
  • Saltwater gargling: Gargling with lukewarm salt water (about half-a-teaspoon salt in a cup of lukewarm water mixed well) may reduce inflammation and lead to throat pain relief.
  • Steam inhalation: This may help alleviate throat dryness and congestion.
    Steam inhalation can provide relief from strep throat while breastfeeding
  • Humidifier: The use of a cool-mist humidifier may help reduce irritation in the throat.
  • Keep yourself hydrated: Strep throat may make it difficult to eat or swallow food. Not drinking sufficient fluids may increase the risk of dehydration. Keep your body well-hydrated by drinking lukewarm water, vegetable soup, warm milk, and similar healthy fluids throughout the day. Liquids are also more likely to be easy to swallow than solids.
  • Choose your diet: Acidic food, citrus fruits, and spicy foods may aggravate the strep throat and are best avoided. Instead, pick nutritious and soothing foods such as oatmeal, mashed potatoes, vegetable or meat broth, applesauce, smoothies (fruits as well as vegetables), and eggs (boiled or scrambled) as they are good for your immune system.
    Pick nutritious and soothing foods, like oatmeal
  • Throat lozenges: You may consider having over-the-counter non-medicated throat lozenges. You may ask your doctor to suggest appropriate throat lozenges.
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If you are suffering from strep throat while breastfeeding, do not worry. Although its contagiousness cannot be ignored, simple treatment with antibiotics after a doctor’s consultation can help manage the condition and your health. Since breast milk contains antibodies, your baby will have natural protection, so you need not stop nursing due to strep throat. However, you must follow certain precautionary measures to prevent transmission of the infection to your baby through your milk supply. Covering your mouth while nursing or refraining from kissing your baby during the infection can help prevent the spread.

Key Pointers

  • Strep throat is a painful bacterial infection that can cause swollen lymph nodes, fever, and a sore throat, which can occur during breastfeeding.
  • Mothers can still nurse their babies if they follow specific precautions, such as frequently washing their hands and using a face mask while nursing.
  • Breastfeeding women with strep throat should take medications, including antibiotics, in the prescribed dosages and for the specified duration as advised by a medical professional.
  • Home remedies such as salt water gargles, a healthy diet, sufficient hydration, and steam inhalation can significantly alleviate the symptoms.

Figure out effective natural home remedies for treating strep throat while breastfeeding. Learn techniques to alleviate throat discomfort and safeguard your baby’s well-being.

Article written by Baby Plumbing

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