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Breastfeeding and the flu: Protecting babies against the virus

Breastfeeding and the flu: Protecting babies against the virus

The flu has claimed the lives of almost 100 children this year.

Hannah Yager and her daughter, Monica, have a special bond with Lactation Consultant Corinne Carlson at Baptist Hospital.

Hannah knew she wanted to breastfeed Monica for the bonding, and especially to protect her baby's health.

"I knew that I was going to be putting her in daycare when I went back to work, and I wanted her immune system to be built up," she said.

Like a lot of new moms, Hannah was having some trouble getting Monica to latch on.

Corinne helped them get through those rough first few weeks. She passionately believes in the health benefits of breastfeeding.

"There's an exchange from the baby's saliva with the mom's milk. However, it happens, the baby's saliva is telling the mom's body to make antibodies for exactly what the baby has been exposed to," Corrine said.

As for the flu, Corinne and the CDC said breast milk provides protection.

If a mom has the flu, they advise she keep nursing. The virus will not pass through the breastmilk.

Even while the mother is ill, she's passing along antibodies that will help protect the baby.

"Breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed. You will help the baby fight any disease either that it is exposed to, or that mom has," Corinne said.