Which Cold Medicines Are Safe For Breastfeeding
If youre breastfeeding and come down with a cold, dont start popping pills just yet. Most cold medicines are considered safe to take while breastfeeding, but since they do enter your milk in small quantities, follow these smart steps to make sure the remedies you take are also safe for baby.
Check the active ingredients in over-the-counter cold remedies to help determine the safety level for baby, and avoid meds with a high alcohol content . If your doctor is prescribing a medication, always remember to mention that youre breastfeeding.
Its better to take any medicine just after youve nursed, to help limit babys exposure. Also, go for short-acting versions rather than time-release or once-a-day meds, since the long-lasting kinds are tougher for baby to metabolize.
In general, throat sprays, lozenges and cough drops are considered safe. Just steer clear of chomping on lots of drops that contain mentholit can reduce your milk supply.
As for popular cold medications, heres a breakdown of whats considered safe and what has yet to be tested:
Pseudoephedrine has been approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics . However, it can potentially decrease your milk supply or cause baby to become irritable.
Acetaminophen, aka Tylenol, has been approved by the AAP, and most experts say its safe.
Guaifenesin has not been tested on breastfeeding moms, but its sometimes given to infants directly.
Dextromethorphan has been studied in breastfeeding women and is considered safe.
Can I Take Antihistamines And Decongestants While Breastfeeding
Antihistamines are safe for breastfeeding women, says Shawna Lamond, director and staff physician at The Alex Breastfeeding Clinic and Riley Park Lactation in Clinic in Calgary. She explains that theyre often prescribed for rashes and other issues postpartum. But any medicine that will dry up will dry up the rest of you, she says. Antihistamines decrease milk production. If youre worried about supply, you can reach for nasal decongestants, like Otrivin, for up to three daysif you take them for longer than that, you might get rebound congestion. Or you can try a nasal steroid, like Nasacort, which is Lamonds go-to. I often combine that with a neti pot. Most women can get through their colds by controlling the symptoms with those two things, she says
Maybe Safe For Breastfeeding:
- Vitamin C: Theres a lot ofdebate over whether or not vitamin C helps anyone fight off colds, pregnant or not, but if youre a C-devotee wondering if you can increase your dosage during an illness, you should check with your doctor. While normal amounts of vitamin C seem to be fine, theres not a lot of research about extra doses of vitamin C, like the kind you might take to boost your immune system when sick. According toLactMed, the Drugs and Lactation Database, high doses are probably finebut its better to get the green light from your healthcare provider.
Whatever you choose, there is one thing you should definitely not do: Stop breastfeeding your baby out of fear of spreading germs through close contact. In fact, breastfeeding can protect your infant from illness.
Its okay to keep feeding your baby while youre sickyour body is making antibodies for the virus, which get passed through your breast milk, explains Dr. Mello. So keep your babys feedings, but if youre worried, wear a mask and add in some extra handwashing.
If youre unsure at all about the safety of any medication while breastfeeding, skip Google and give your provider or childs pediatrician a call, Dr. Mello suggests theyre much more likely to have accurate and up-to-date information about which drugs should and should not be taken if youre breastfeeding.
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When Babies Have Colds
- Babies may want to feed frequently both for extra fluid and for comfort when they have cold symptoms.
- Babies with blocked noses may find it hard to feed and may keep coming off the breast. Sodium Chloride nasal drops used before feeds may help as may a manual decongester .
- Sometimes babies pull away from the breast and cry this may be because it increases in the pressure in their ears causing earache. This is particularly common overnight or after a longer sleep.
- Babies may have a croaky, hoarse cry which is different to normal, indicating a sore throat.
- Paracetamol can be given to babies older than 3 months .
- Ibuprofen can be given to babies older than 3 months.
- Historically paracetamol and ibuprofen were taken together but NICE recommended that this is not evidence based practice.
- Keep the atmosphere around the child moist by using vapourisers, steam generators or a damp towel over a radiator.
- If the parents have any concerns over the well-being of the baby medical advice should be sought urgently. It is better to err on the side of caution with young children whose condition can deteriorate rapidly.
Many of a babys symptoms can be taken to reflect a lower milk supply. Colds do not cause milk quality or quantity to diminish and breastfeeds can supply a great deal of comfort as well as nutrition to a child who is feeling poorly.
Cold Remedies Safe For Breastfeeding Mothers
Mon Health Lactation Specialist, Pamela Poe, and OBGYN Craig Herring, weigh in on how breastfeeding mothers can get through the trenches of sickness with cold remedies that are safe for baby and moms milk supply.
Its tempting to reach for over-the-counter medicines to combat nasty cold symptoms like sneezing, coughing and sore throat.
But for breastfeeding mothers, treating symptoms of the common cold may come with hesitation. Not only do you have to consider what medications are safe for baby, but also whether or not they will affect your milk supply.
Luckily, according to Mon Health Lactation Specialist, Pam Poe, there are several natural alternatives that you can try first to ease discomfort before turning to medications.
Unfortunately, there is no magical cure, but there are plenty of natural, drug-free remedies available for nursing mothers to ease symptoms, says Poe.
And if natural remedies dont work, mothers may be relieved to find there are a select few over-the-counter cold medications considered safe to take while breastfeeding, said Dr. Craig Herring, Mon Health OBGYN.
Its true that most cold medicines pass into mothers milkbut in very, very small amounts, said Dr. Herring. So while there are a few medications out there that nursing mothers might want to avoid, there are still many safe cold remedies available that they can use to treat their symptoms.
What cold medications are safe to take while breastfeeding?
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Should Mothers Continue Breastfeeding If They Have Flu Or Come In Contact With Someone With Flu
Yes. A mothers breast milk contains antibodies and other immunological factors that can help protect her infant from flu and is the recommended source of nutrition for the infant, even while the mother is ill. If a mother is too sick to feed her infant at the breast and another healthy caregiver is caring for the infant, the breastfeeding mother should be encouraged and supported to regularly express her milk so that the infant continues to receive her breast milk. Prior to expressing breast milk, mothers should wash their hands well with soap and water and, if using a pump, follow recommendations for proper cleaning. Because breast milk supply could decrease for some mothers while they are ill, mothers may need additional lactation support from a lactation provider to address milk supply concerns, reduce the possibility of developing a breast infection, and support the breastfeeding relationship during this time.
Is It Safe To Take Echinacea While Breastfeeding
There is no data on the safety of echinacea on nursing mothers or infants, but it is considered to be compatible with breastfeeding. Just make sure that the preparation doesnt contain other herbs and supplements that arent recommended. And, it has never been proven to be effective, points out Lamond. But its safe.
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Can You Take Flu Medicine While Breastfeeding
The flu can be mild, or it can be severe, and pregnant women, young children, and older adults are most at risk for developing complications related to the flu. Nursing mothers often have many questions about the flu. First and foremost, the flu cant be spread to a baby through breastmilk, and if a nursing mom gets the flu, she should continue breastfeeding. Breast milk contains antibodies and other protective elements that can actually help a newborn avoid getting the flu. Even if a mother is sick, in most cases, breast milk is the recommended form of nutrition for a baby. If a nursing mother is too sick to breastfeed, the general medical advice is to continue trying to express milk in order to keep up her supply and also provide the baby with nutrition. Some mothers experience a decline in their milk supply when theyre sick, but there are ways to avoid this.
Even though continued breastfeeding is the recommendation, it is still important to try and keep a newborn protected against the flu. Moms with the flu should wash their hands frequently and also make sure theyre thoroughly cleaning anything that comes in contact with the baby. Sometimes the best option may be to pump milk and then have someone who isnt sick give it to the baby in order to avoid spreading the virus. The flu vaccine is safe for breastfeeding mothers, as well as for babies who are least six months old.
Benefits Of Breastfeeding For Immune Health
Breastfeeding has a number of benefits for the baby and the nursing parent. Your body produces antibodies that are passed to your baby, which then protect them from your cold or viral infection.
If you are too sick or weak to breastfeed, you might try pumping milk to keep up your supply.
Supplementing with baby formula is also an option, and it’s absolutely safe. If you are unable to breastfeed, your baby can receive the nutrients they need from formula.
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Definitely Safe For Breastfeeding:
- Saline rinses: Per the University of Michigan Health,rinsing your sinuses with saline can thin and dislodge mucus, relieving symptoms of congestion.
- Steam: Similar to saline rinses, steam can break up stubborn congestion in your sinuses and make it easier to breathe. You can sit in a steamy bathroom or use a humidifier to generate steam.
- Hydration: Chicken soup, hot tea, even plain old water: staying hydrated also helps keep mucus thin, which means its easier to get rid of, and warm beverages can soothe a sore throat.
- Honey: Speaking of soothing, honey is a safe and easy way to coat an irritated, scratchy throat and calm annoying coughs.
Cough And Cold Remedies And Breastfeeding
This information can also be viewed as a PDF by clicking here.
The information provided is taken from various reference sources. It is provided as a guideline. No responsibility can be taken by the author or the Breastfeeding Network for the way in which the information is used. Clinical decisions remain the responsibility of medical and breastfeeding practitioners. The data presented here is intended to provide some immediate information but cannot replace input from professionals.
Optimal treatment choice
Anaesthetic throat spray
For colds and influenza two paracetamol four times a day or 400milligrammes ibuprofen three times a day with plenty of fluids and rest may be the most effective cure. Other commercial remedies may help to relieve symptoms but the evidence of effectiveness behind many products is poor.
ORAL DECONGESTANTS should be avoided by breastfeeding mothers as they can dramatically reduce milk supply with just one or two doses e.g. pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, phenylpropanolamine. Individual ingredients need to be checked as there are many products available with multiple drugs each of which should be considered separately for safe consumption during breastfeeding.
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Can I Take Robitussin While Breastfeeding
Guaifenesin, an expectorant found in over-the-counter medications such as Robitussin and Mucinex, loosens mucus and makes it easier to breathe. Its OK to take while breastfeeding, and it wont affect your supply, but expectorants generally dont work that well, says Ellen Giesbrecht, senior medical director of the maternal newborn program at BC Womens Hospital, so they might not be worth taking.
Cold Medications For Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Selecting a cold medication while pregnant or breastfeeding that is going to be safe for both you and your baby can be stressful and overwhelming.
Here, youâll find answers to your questions and information about common ingredients found in cold medicines that are considered safe for you and your baby.
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Cold Remedies For Nursing Moms
Colds are never fun and trying to mother with a cold can be downright difficult. If you are not feeling well with runny nose and cough, lots of fluids and rest is always a good recipe for getting back to normal. Cold symptoms last 6-10 days with symptoms peaking on day 4-5 and subsiding by day 7-10. If your symptoms are worsening by 7 days into a cold, you should see your doctor. If you run a fever beyond 3-4 days, medical care should be sought. Flu-like symptoms are not a normal part of a common cold and may be indicative of a breast infection or other illness. Consult your physician if you experience these. Otherwise rest and sleep when baby sleeps.
If you are ill and not feeling well, you may inadvertently skip feedings or feel the need for someone else to feed your baby. This may cause a decrease in your milk supply. To maintain your supply, make sure you get plenty of rest, drink fluids, and continue to eat three meals a day and three snacks. It is safe to continue to breastfeed even when you are ill unless your doctor advises otherwise. Your body will produce antibodies that pass into your milk and protect your infant from your infection. Breastfed babies do experience illness and can pick up illness from others in their household but generally, the breastfed babies illness is less severe than formula fed infants and the infant recovers from illness sooner.
However You Should Know That Some May Have Side Effects That Impact Your Breastfeeding Ability
Dr. Graseck says that medicines containing the decongestants pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine can impact your milk supply. I tell my patients that anything that can dry out your nose can also dry out your milk, Dr. Graseck says. For that reason, youll want to avoid medicines like Nyquil and Sudafed.
Dr. Graseck says that moms who are toward the end of their breastfeeding time are especially susceptible to having their milk dry up.
Still, if you just gotta have Nyquil to knock yourself out when youre sick, theres no way the medicine will affect your milk itself or pass any of the drug on to your baby. If you take some, theres no need to pump and dump.
If your PCP tells you that you should pump and dump when you have a cold, Dr. Graseck suggests getting a second opinion from your ob-gyn. Many doctors who dont deal with breastfeeding will suggest dumping your milk when its not necessary, just to be safe, she says. But theres really no reason to get rid of good breastmilk.
In the end, its your decision whether the pros of cold medicine outweigh the potential cons of messing with your milk supply. Either way, your milk wont be contaminated by the drugs, so theres no need to stress about anything impacting your baby. And taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do to take care of your child.
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Cough & Chest Congestion
Benzocaine : Numbing Agent. Temporarily relieves pain associated with itching, sore throat. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies or case reports in breastfeeding women. Due to its low oral absorption after application, maternal blood concentrations are probably too low to produce any significant clinical effects in the breastfed infant. Benzocaine cough drops or lozenges are an excellent choice for cough relief in breastfeeding mothers. Common trade names: Cepacol.
Menthol : Numbing Agent. Commonly used for topical analgesics and sore throat relief. Only minimal amounts of Menthol would be transferred into breast milk. Adverse effects to infants from breastfeeding are unlikely due to low relative dose and first-pass metabolism. There are no adequate and well controlled studies in breastfeeding women. Menthol cough drops, lozenges, and/or chest rub are an excellent choice for cough relief in breastfeeding mothers. Common trade names: Halls, Ricola, Ludens, Vicks
Guaifenesin : This is an expectorant used to loosen respiratory tract secretions. It does not suppress coughing. The poor efficacy of expectorants in general would suggest that they do not provide enough justification for use in breastfeeding mothers. However, untoward effects to the infants have not been described. Common trade names: Robitussin, Mucinex
Are There Special Considerations For Mothers With Flu In Peri
Yes. Newborns infected with influenza viruses are at increased risk for severe complications, including death. CDC has specific recommendations that apply to mothers who have flu and their newborns in the hospital setting at the time of birth. Visit Guidance for the Prevention and Control of Influenza in the Peri- and Postpartum Settings for more information.
If direct breastfeeding is interrupted due to temporary separation of mother and child, the breastfeeding mother should be encouraged and supported to regularly express her milk so that the infant continues to receive her breast milk. A breastfeeding mother with flu may need access to a hospital-grade pump and additional lactation support while in the hospital and after discharge to maintain her milk supply and reduce the possibility of developing a breast infection. Prior to expressing breast milk, mothers should wash their hands well with soap and water and, if using a pump, follow recommendations for proper cleaning. If a mother is expressing breast milk, the expressed breast milk should be fed to the infant by a healthy caregiver who does not have flu, if possible.
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