The Best Cold Medicine While Breastfeeding
It’s not enjoyable to be ill with a cold while trying to keep up with the demands of a nursing infant, but don’t worry: it’s simpler to manage your symptoms with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs while breastfeeding than it is when pregnant.
The range of drugs available to you is far greater than it is during pregnancy. Many over-the-counter cold drugs are safe to consume while nursing.
There are restrictions when treating cold symptoms while nursing, and certain medications should be avoided entirely. Everything you need to know about taking cold drugs while nursing, from what to take and what to avoid to when and how to dose properly, is right here.
Can you take cold medicine while breastfeeding ?
Many common cold drugs are generally safe to take while breastfeeding. Many of the specific chemicals you could use to reduce your symptoms, such as decongestants, cough suppressants, and pain medications, are typically regarded safe, and those that aren’t frequently have safer alternatives that give the same level of symptom alleviation.
However, there are a bunch of caveats: Many of these drugs do enter into breast milk in modest amounts, and some of them may also reduce milk production. These limitations do not exclude you from taking these drugs while nursing, but they do require you to be aware of the potential adverse effects and pay close attention to dosing recommendations. If you are a breastfeeding mom, you should see your primary care physician, OB-GYN, or lactation expert before taking any drugs. There is also a free database, Lactmed, that you may use to check up drugs. Examine all labels for active components, which may include vitamins, supplements, naturopathic, and homeopathic medications.
According to Dr. Mello, one of the best ways to choose breastfeeding-friendly cold medications and reduce side effects is to stick with single-symptom formulations rather than multi-symptom ones; for example, if you have a cough and congestion, take Sudafed and Robitussin separately rather than Dayquil or Tylenol Cold.
When you have a list of several components, the likelihood of consuming a dangerous one or exposing mom and baby to it rises.
In other words, instead of taking preparations that try to address a half-dozen or more symptoms, focus on treating your unique problems—even if that involves taking various types of suitable medications. It’s also simpler to track any adverse effects this way; if you suspect that something you’re taking is reducing your milk production or making your baby cranky, you may discontinue it while continuing to take other drugs to see whether that’s the case.
Safe cold medicine while breastfeeding
Pseudoephedrine, dextromethorphan, NSAID pain medicines, acetaminophen, and second-generation allergy drugs like Zyrtec and Claritin are generally regarded safe alternatives for managing cold symptoms while nursing. Typically, these medicines do not pass into breast milk in sufficient amounts to produce negative effects in your infant.
However, she advises nursing mothers to avoid first-generation allergy drugs such as Benadryl since they might induce drowsiness in your infant.
It is equally critical to consider factors other than the active components. Other substances often included in over-the-counter cold treatments, particularly cough syrups, may be dangerous. Many medications contain a mix of dextromethorphan and ethanol, which should be avoided when nursing.
Before taking anything while nursing, make sure to check the label of cough drugs for alcohol; while many do not include it, there are still plenty of OTC treatments, including cough syrups, that utilize it to boost the sedating effects of the prescription.
How to take cold medicine safely
Even though many common cold treatments may be taken by breastfeeding mothers, it is still vital to be aware of any potential interactions, contraindications, and side effects of over-the-counter medications. That really applies to everyone!
Whether you’re pregnant or not, you should always follow the dose instructions on the bottle. Under the correct conditions, every medicine might have negative effects. She goes on to say that you should never take more than the suggested dose of a medication within the interval specified on the container.
Although taking a single-symptom medication generally lowers the risk of complications for lactating mothers, you must also be cautious when mixing and matching drugs; make sure there are no drug-to-drug interactions with other medications you’re taking, or that you don’t take two medications containing the same ingredient. If you are unclear, consult your pharmacist about drug interactions for the drugs you want to take.
To decrease the quantity of medicine that comes up in your breast milk, you may be able to time your doses around your baby’s feeding schedule—though this may not always be possible or even required, depending on the drug. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, short-acting drugs are always preferred over long-acting treatments. (For example, if you have an option, choose a four- to six-hour pseudoephedrine formulation over a 12-hour prolonged release formula.) It may be beneficial to jot down the names of drugs, dosages, and times taken.
Short-acting drugs can be given immediately after your baby eats, enabling the drug to exit your system before the next feeding. If this isn’t possible, the AAP suggests using long-acting medications when your infant falls asleep for the longest length of time.
Finally, if you’re nursing while taking medicine, it’s critical to keep an eye on your infant for any adverse effects. Some drugs might induce irritation and reduced milk production in newborns, as well as sleepiness.
Home remedies for a cold
If you’re still concerned about using pharmaceuticals while nursing, or if you wish to augment OTC meds with natural therapies, there are non-pharmaceutical options for symptom relief. Some of these cold treatments are safe to use while nursing, while others may or may not be (i.e., the research is conflicting); if you have any concerns, see your physician or lactation consultant.
Clearly safe for breastfeeding:
Saltwater rinses: According to the University of Michigan Health, cleaning your sinuses with saline helps thin and remove mucus, alleviating congestion symptoms.
Steam: Like saline rinses, steam can help break up persistent congestion in your sinuses (as well as your chest) and make breathing easier. To produce steam, you may either sit in a steamy bathroom or use a humidifier.
Hydration: Staying hydrated also helps keep mucus thin, which makes it simpler to get rid of, and warm beverages can relieve a sore throat.
Honey: Speaking of calming, honey is a simple and safe approach to cover an irritated, scratchy throat and soothe irritating coughs.
Maybe safe for breastfeeding:
Vitamin C: There’s a lot of dispute over whether or not vitamin C helps anyone, pregnant or not, fight off colds, but if you’re a C-devotee wondering whether you may up your dosage during an illness, consult your doctor. While regular levels of vitamin C (such as the daily recommended dose of 75 milligrams) appear to be safe, there isn’t much study on high doses of vitamin C, such as the sort you may take to strengthen your immune system while you’re sick. High dosages are usually fine, according to LactMed, the Drugs and Lactation Database, but it’s best to receive the go-ahead from your healthcare professional.
Whatever you decide, there is one thing you should never do: stop nursing your infant because you are afraid of transmitting infections via intimate contact. Breastfeeding, in fact, helps protect your baby from disease.
It’s fine to continue feeding your baby while you’re ill since your body is producing antibodies against the virus, which are passed on through your breast milk. So continue to feed your kid, but if you’re concerned, wear a mask and do more handwashing.
If you have any doubts regarding the safety of any medicine while nursing, call your provider or your child’s physician instead. They are considerably more likely to have current and correct information regarding which medicines should and should not be taken if you are nursing.
|What cold medicine can I take while breastfeeding?|
|Drug class||Safe||Unsafe||Possible side effects or risks|
|Antihistamines||Zyrtec (cetirizine) —preferredAllegra (fexofenadine)Claritin (loratadine)Xyzal (levocetirizine)||Benadryl (diphenhydramine)Unisom (doxylamine)||Irritability and drowsiness in infants|
|Pain relievers||Tylenol (acetaminophen)Motrin, Advil (ibuprofen)Aleve (naproxen)||CodeineAspirin||No known effects|
|Decongestants||Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)Afrin||Phenylephrine (not well studied)||Reduced sleep in babies, infant irritability, reduced milk supply in moms|
|Cough suppressants||Robitussin (dextromethorphan)||Formulations with alcohol or codeine||Drowsiness in babies. Avoid use in infants less than 2 months old|
|Expectorants||Mucinex (guaifenesin)||Unknown||Caution advised; no human data available to assess risk to infant or milk supply|
|Nasal sprays||Flonase (fluticasone)Nasacort (triamcinolone acetate)||Unknown (most others not well studied)||No known effects|
|Throat lozenges/cough drops||Most throat lozenges are safe||Unknown||Generally safe although large amounts of menthol can decrease milk supply|
|Topical ointments||N/A||Vicks Vaporub||Contains camphor, which can be harmful to babies if transferred on skin or inhaled|