Monday, March 20, 2023

What Cold And Flu Medicine Is Safe For Breastfeeding

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How Can Caregivers Prevent Transmission Of Flu To Infants

Breastfeeding While You Are Having Cold or Fever – Is It Safe?
  • Immunization of pregnant and breastfeeding women pdf icon reduces the risk of flu to themselves and to their infants. To protect infants, especially those younger than 6 months of age who cannot be vaccinated, parents, siblings, other household members aged 6 months and older, and other caregivers should also receive an annual flu vaccination .
  • Everyday preventive actions such as avoiding close contact with sick persons, covering ones nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing and throwing the tissue away immediately afterwards, practicing proper hand hygiene, and disinfecting surfaces can also help protect all infants from flu, whether they are breastfed or not.
  • Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for infants and provides protection from infections through antibodies and other immunological factors. Infants who are breastfed are less vulnerable to infections, including severe respiratory illnesses, than infants who are not breastfed. When a mother has flu, her breast milk contains antibodies that can help protect her infant from flu and breast milk remains the recommended source of nutrition for the infant, even while the mother is ill.

Cold And Flu Remedies That Are Safe While Breastfeeding

Its that time of year again. It seems that everyone you know has a sniffle and a cough. Wondering which treatments and remedies are safe for breastfeeding mothers? Wondering which things to stay away from? My name is Carrie Bews and Im the lactation coordinator at Confluence Health. Read on for some remedies that are safe for breastfeeding moms and babies.

General Tips:

1. REST. Getting enough rest can be nearly impossible when you have little ones to care for, but make this your #1 priority. Even if you cant get enough SLEEP, try to find time for extra rest. Lay down while your baby is nursing. Spend extra time snuggling in bed or on the couch when baby is awake. Give yourself permission to call out for pizza, use paper plates, and let the toddler/ preschooler/ school-aged children watch extra TV! Getting yourself well again is top priority for you to go on caring for your family.

2. RELAX. Try to squeeze in some extra relaxation to nurture your body. Run a humidifier to help ease the dry air for your sore nasal passages. Ask one of your kids or your support person to rub your feet or head for a few minutes. Take a warm, steamy shower or bath. Breathe or diffuse some essential oils Take deep breaths and try to visualize your body getting stronger and healthy.

Head/Chest Congestion:

Sore Throat/Cough:

Medications generally regarded as safe:

The following information is derived from the 2017 edition of Dr. Thomas Hale, PhDs, book: Medications and Mothers Milk.

Is The Flu Vaccine Safe For Breastfeeding Mothers And Their Infants

Yes. Flu vaccination is safe for breastfeeding women and their infants aged 6 months and older. In fact, women who get the flu vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding develop antibodies against flu that they can share with their infants through their breast milk. Breastfeeding can provide some protection against flu for infants, including children younger than 6 months who cannot receive the flu vaccine. Annual flu vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older , and is particularly important for pregnant women. Additionally, to protect children younger than 6 months of age from flu, persons around the infant should receive the flu vaccination.

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When To See A Doctor

Most colds are mild and last between three and seven days. If your symptoms dont improve within this time span or worsen, make an appointment with your doctor. Sometimes, the common cold mimics other conditions or develops into a secondary infection. More serious symptoms to watch out for include wheezing, an earache, a severe cough, and facial pain. These symptoms may indicate one or more of the following conditions:

  • ear infection

Cold Medications And Breastfeeding: Dos And Dont’s

Is Cold Medicine Breastfeeding Safe? BreastfeedingPlace ...

Many over-the-counter cold medicine products are considered safe during pregnancy, when baby is directly impacted. So it’s generally considered safe for breastfeeding moms to take those medications with, of course, the same precautions.

Go with the ingredient that you need, not something that has lots of ingredients, and not something that has sustained release,” says Ross. A sustained release product means your baby will get the medication over a longer period of time. Choose medications with only one ingredient for the symptom that’s plaguing you most and avoid combination cough and common cold medicines that have ingredients for cough, sneezing, congestion, headache, and more.

Simple diphenhydramine and guaifenesin are fine, says Ross. And you can take ibuprofen and aspirin while breastfeeding, which were a no-no for pregnant women. Those drugs are “not shown to do damage to most newborn babies,” Ross says.

Of course, if your babys behavior changes more fussiness, for example consider that it could have something to do with your medication.

Ross says it’s also fine to use something like Vicks VapoRub or a saline mist. Just be careful that the Vicks doesn’t get on your breasts. It won’t affect your baby unless it gets on the breasts and the baby eats it.

Herbal medications and remedies are not recommended for breastfeeding women, as the FDA does not regulate them and their safety can’t be confirmed.

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Is Ginseng Safe To Take While Breastfeeding

Ginseng is a blood thinner, so its not recommended for people who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Morais notes that, while some types of ginseng are more dangerous than others, there is limited evidence on the amount of ginseng that is passed on to breastmilk, so its best to generally avoid ginseng during breastfeeding.

Complementary And Herbal Medicines While Breastfeeding

Complementary medicines include vitamins, herbal preparations, aromatherapy and homeopathic products. Like other medicines, complementary medicines can have side effects.

With most herbal and traditional medicines, there is not enough documented information to determine their safety in breastfeeding, so ask your health professional for advice.

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Can I Take Cold Medicine While Pregnant Or Breastfeeding

There are certain cold medicines that are considered safe to take while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The safety of using over-the-counter cold medication while pregnant or breastfeeding depends on the specific medicines within the products, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and any other medical conditions you may have. You should only use cold medicines for the shortest time possible to help with your symptoms. Always be sure to check with your health care provider or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter cold medicines during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

The American Pregnancy Association recommends limiting the amount of over-the-counter cold medicines you take and trying certain home remedies to alleviate symptoms. They promote washing your hands regularly, drinking plenty of fluids, getting ample amounts of rest, eating well, and only using medications to treat the symptoms you are experiencing. As a home remedy for sinus congestion, they recommend using a humidifier, keeping your head elevated on a pillow while resting, and/or using adhesive nasal strips. For sore throat, they recommend sucking on ice chips, drinking warm herbal tea , or gargling warm salt water.1

Do Cold Medications Pass Into Breast Milk

PREGNANCY SAFE COLD REMEDIES || Breastfeeding Safe, Too!

Its possible. Its a great feeling to provide your child with the nutrition they need through your breast milk. Well, the same biology that allows your child to get nutrients that way also allows medications to be passed to them through your breast milk.

Almost any medication you take can enter your breast milk to some extent, but most of them only get through in extremely small amounts, and they wont affect your baby. On the other hand, some drugs cross over more and could pose a risk to your baby. When it comes to cold medications, many are probably safe to take, but some can be passed to your baby in higher amounts or affect your milk supply. Well talk about these next.

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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

Safe Cold Medicines While Breast

Pseudoephedrine and phenylephedrine are oral decongestants for treating nasal congestion caused by colds, allergies, and sinus infections. Both ingredients are common in over-the-counter medications and considered safe while breast-feeding. But although safe, these ingredients can affect breast-feeding.

You should also be aware of how decongestants can affect infants. Some infants arent bothered by traces of the medication in their milk supply, but decongestants can cause irritability and restlessness in infants. If you dont want to risk problems with your milk flow or cause restlessness in your baby, you can skip an oral treatment and relieve congestion with a nasal spray decongestant.

Allergy symptoms sometimes accompany a cold. Fortunately, antihistamines are also safe while breast-feeding. But some allergy medications cause drowsiness.

Antihistamines with the ingredients diphenhydramine and chlorpheniramine may cause marked drowsiness and sluggishness. Breast-feeding while taking these medications can make your baby sleepy. You can avoid this side effect by choosing nondrowsy antihistamines, such as loratadine and fexofenadine . However, unlike other antihistamines, these will only help symptoms caused by allergies, not the runny nose that comes with a cold virus.

If youre dealing with a nagging cough, cough suppressants with the ingredient dextromethorphan are also safe to take while breast-feeding.

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How Can A Breastfeeding Mother With Flu Protect Her Infant From Getting Sick

A mother with flu should take precautions to avoid spreading flu to her infant because infants are at high-risk of serious flu-related complications. These precautions are especially important for infants younger than 6 months of age because they cannot be vaccinated against influenza viruses. Mothers with flu should thoroughly wash and dry their hands with soap and water before touching the infant or any item that the infant will touch and anytime they sneeze or cough on their hands.

Breast milk remains the best source of nutrition for the infant, and provides protection from infections through antibodies and other immunological factors. If a mother is too sick to feed her infant at the breast, if possible, expressed breast milk should be fed to the infant by a healthy caregiver who does not have flu. Whenever a mother expresses her breast milk, she should wash her hands well with soap and water and, if using a pump, follow recommendations for proper cleaning.

What Cold Medicine Is Safe For Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Can you breastfeed while youâre sick? Here

The common cold can cause a variety of symptoms, such as runny nose, fever, headache, body aches, cough, sore throat, and congestion. Many over-the-counter cold medicines combine multiple medications that treat these symptoms into a single tablet or liquid. It’s important to review the active ingredients in these products when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding to ensure they are safe for both you and your child. In most cases, it’s best to avoid combination products and instead use single ingredient products to help relieve the symptoms you are experiencing.

Pain Relievers and Fever Reducers

Acetaminophen is considered the preferred medication during all trimesters of pregnancy to treat fever, aches and pains, and is safe to use while breastfeeding.2,3,4 NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil®

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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.

Is It Safe To Take Acetaminophen While Breastfeeding

Acetaminophen, the medicine found in Tylenol, has been well studied in breastfeeding moms. Very small amounts of the drug pass into the breastmilk, but its not enough that it affects the baby, and it doesnt affect your milk supply. As a result, its considered safe during breastfeedingand its often a go-to for controlling pain while recovering from childbirth injuries or C-sections.

Be careful about taking Tylenol while youre also taking cold and flu products like Nyquil, DayQuil, Excedrin or Robitussin, though. These medications also contain acetaminophen, so it can be easy to accidentally exceed the recommended maximum dose, which can cause serious problems like liver failure. Because these medications contain a mix of ingredients, it can be a challenge to figure out if theyre safe to use while breastfeeding. For recommendations on any particular drug, check with your healthcare provider or a pharmacist.

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Lactation Risk Categories Explained

Drs. Thomas Hale and Kaytlin Krutsch have performed extensive research on the effects of medications in mothers milk. They have given each medication a rating from Safest to Hazardous .

L1 Safest: Extensive evidence demonstrating no adverse effects on the infant

L2 Safer: Limited evidence without an increase in adverse effects on the infant

L3 Probably Safe: No studies, but expert opinion suggesting safety. Risk to the infant is possible, and further evaluation must be taken to consider individual situations.

L4 Possibly Hazardous: Positive evidence or expert opinion of risk to the infant or milk production.

L5 Hazardous: Significant and documented risk to the infant.

Kaytlin Krutsch, PharmD, MBA, BCPS

Adapted from previous InfantRisk articles authored by James Abbey, MD, Erika Anderson, MS4, Thomas W. Hale, Ph.D., and Teresa Baker, MD.


1. Hale, Thomas Wright. Hale’s Medications & Mothers’ Milk, 2021: A Manual of Lactational Pharmacology. Springer Publishing Company, 2021.

2. Walsh P, Rothenberg SJ, Bang H. Safety of ibuprofen in infants younger than six months: A retrospective cohort study. Leong C, ed. PLOS ONE. 2018 13:e0199493. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0199493

3.Findlay, Jw, et al. Pseudoephedrine and Triprolidine in Plasma and Breast Milk of Nursing Mothers. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, vol. 18, no. 6, 1984, pp. 901906., doi:10.1111/j.1365-2125.1984.tb02562.x.

Can I Use Cold And Flu Tablets While Breastfeeding

Nyquil Cold Medicine and Breastfeeding|What happened after 2 days of taking Nyquil

Very small amounts of the drug pass into the breastmilk, but its not enough that it affects the baby, and it doesnt affect your milk supply. As a result, its considered safe during breastfeedingand its often a go-to for controlling pain while recovering from childbirth injuries or C-sections.

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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, you’ll 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 you’re 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, there’s 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, it’s your decision whether the pros of cold medicine outweigh the potential cons of messing with your milk supply. Either way, your milk won’t be contaminated by the drugs, so there’s 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.

Can I Breastfeed If I Have Coronavirus

Is it safe to keep breastfeeding my baby? Coronavirus has not been found in breast milk. But if you have COVID-19, you could spread the virus to your infant through tiny droplets that spread when you talk, cough, or sneeze. Talk to your doctor to help decide whether you should continue to breastfeed.

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Home Remedies For A Cold

If youre still concerned about taking any medications while breastfeedingor you want to supplement OTC drugs with natural remediesthere are also non-pharmaceutical ways to ease your symptoms. Some of these cold remedies are safe to use while breastfeeding, and some may or may not be if you have concerns, check with your provider or lactation consultant.

Will Cold Medications Reduce My Milk Supply

Is It Safe To Take Cold Medicine While Breastfeeding ...

Menthol, pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, and some antihistamines could potentially cause a drop in your milk supply. But just like all babies are different, all moms milk supplies are also different. What might reduce your milk supply might not reduce someone elses.

Talk to your healthcare provider when youre thinking about trying a medication. If you start taking it, you can always stop if you notice a reduction in your milk supply. Drinking more water should also help boost your milk supply.

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