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Is It OK To Give a Baby Formula When They Have a Fever?

Is It OK To Give a Baby Formula When They Have a Fever?

When your little one has a fever, it’s natural to be worried – especially if you’re a new parent and this is their first illness. 

Fever is usually caused by a viral illness, but vaccinations can also lead to a fever, and teething can lead to mild fever.

You’ve probably heard the old advice “feed a cold, starve a fever”, but this doesn’t apply to babies. Milk is both nutrition and hydration, and it’s vital that they still have their usual formula or breastmilk while they’re sick – even if they seem like they’re not hungry. Offer your baby their usual feeds, at their usual times. 

3 reasons your baby needs milk when they have a fever


When your baby’s body temperature rises, they’re at risk of dehydration. If they’re vomiting, even more so. Formula or breastmilk will help prevent dehydration.

You don’t need to give your baby water – milk is the only liquid they need if they’re under 6 months old. Sometimes, doctors will recommend a little water in young babies, but speak to your pediatrician before you offer it. 

Never give your baby watered-down formula. This is dangerous and can lead to water intoxication.

If your baby is vomiting, they might struggle to keep their milk down. Wait for 30-60 minutes after they’ve been sick to offer milk to give their tummy a chance to recover. If they still can’t keep it down, speak to a doctor.


Your baby needs nutrition when they’re sick even more than when they’re not. The calories in formula or breastmilk will help give them the strength they need to fight the infection – just like you might want a sugary soda or yogurt when you’re sick. 

What if my baby won’t eat while sick?

If your baby isn’t taking their usual milk, whether formula or breastmilk, it’s important to get medical help quickly, especially in young babies. 

A baby who isn’t eating enough will become sleepy, and even more difficult to feed. Call your pediatrician if you have any concerns.

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