Can You Take Cold Medicine While Breastfeeding?

Can You Take Cold Medicine While Breastfeeding?

18 Jul 2022 | 4 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 511 Articles

If you catch a cold, it might interfere with just about everything that you do. It can be challenging to breastfeed your little one when you’re not feeling well. You might have concerns about breastfeeding while sick. As a result, you will want to take medicines to get rid of the cold. The question is: Is it safe to take cold medicine while nursing?

If you are a breastfeeding mum, you will need to take certain precautions before you take any cold medicines. Read on to know more.

what medications are safe to take while breastfeeding
It can be challenging to breastfeed your little one when you have caught a cold. | Image Source: pexels

Can You Take Cold Medicine While Nursing?

Nursing mums can take cold medications after consulting a doctor. Many of the individual ingredients you might reach for to alleviate your symptoms like decongestants, cough suppressants, and pain relievers are generally considered safe. The doctor can guide you on this.

Experts suggest that one of the best ways to choose breastfeeding-friendly cold medications and reduce side effects is to stick with single-symptom formulations instead of multi-symptom ones. For example, you can take Sudafed and Robitussin separately if you have a cough and congestion, rather than Dayquil or Tylenol Cold.

You should focus on treating your individual symptoms, even if that means taking multiple kinds of compatible drugs rather than preparations that aim to treat a half-dozen symptoms or more. It becomes easy to track possible side effects too.

If you think that the medication you’re taking is decreasing your milk production or making your baby irritable, you can consult a doctor. He/ she will recommend another alternative.

Safe Cold Medicines While Breastfeeding

Here’s a list of safe cold medicines while breastfeeding that will not cause any harm to the baby:

  1. Paracetamol or Acetaminophen: Medicines with the active compound acetaminophen like Tylenol and Crocin can be taken for a cold while you are breastfeeding.

An analgesic, acetaminophen can do wonders in relieving you from fever, inflammation, and pain.

  1. Ibuprofen: Ibuprofen is considered safe for the little one and only passes on to the baby in micro-quantities and does not harm the little one.

Ibuprofen like Advil is a non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drug that can lower fever, pain, and inflammation. These can also be used for flu, headache, or a cold caused by sinus infections.

  1. Dextromethorphan: Dextromethorphan is safe for breastfeeding mums and can suppress colds and coughs.

However, it is not recommended for mums with conditions like asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, and liver disease.

  1. Bromhexine and Guaifenesin: Bromhexine and Guaifenesin are also safe for breastfeeding mums and can cure a chesty cough by loosening the mucus in the chest through the cough-reflex.
  1. Zinc Gluconate: This cold-relieving medicine is an over-the-counter drug and can be used as a gel, which is administered through the nose.

The localised, topical application when limited to 12 mg a day is safe for both the mum and the baby.

  1. Chlorpheniramine and Hydroxyzine: Chlorpheniramine and Hydroxyzine are antihistamine drugs and are used to treat an allergy-induced stuffy, blocked, or runny nose.

These are considered safe for lactating mums and babies as only a small amount is passed on through breast milk and does not harm the little one.

You can take medications after you breastfeed and avoid breastfeeding for two or three hours after taking the medicine to avoid exposure to the baby. | Image Source: pixabay

Precautions to Be Taken

While taking any form of medication for a cold, breastfeeding mums should keep certain precautions in mind:

  • Try to avoid medicines with a high alcohol content as they can pass to the baby through breast milk and can impair the little one’s motor development and changes in sleep patterns.
  • It is advisable to take single-ingredient medicines to limit your baby’s exposure to OTC drugs.
  • You can take medications after you breastfeed and avoid breastfeeding for two or three hours after taking the medicine to avoid exposure to the baby.
  • It is recommended to avoid taking extra-strength medications or dosages as these will stay in your system and milk supply for long hours.

Some of the safe cold medicines that are prescribed to breastfeeding mums can cause minor side effects like drowsiness, irritability, and jitters in little ones. However, these are often resolved themselves.

DISCLAIMER: We have taken steps to check the accuracy of the information & practices shared above; however, it is not a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. Please check with either your doctor, or an expert, before trying any suggestion, practice, or medication mentioned here.

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