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What Cold Medicines Are Safe During Breastfeeding?

By MomMed | 14 November 2022 | 0 Comments



We know you are fully aware that what you eat influences the quality and quantity of your milk and directly affects your baby. So, what should you do if you catch a cold while breastfeeding? Are there cold medicines safe for breastfeeding mothers? Stay with us, and we will tell you everything about that in a while.
 
However, before we go into those details, let us tell you that you don’t have to stop breastfeeding if you have a cold. It is because your breastmilk will pass antibodies produced in your body into your baby, making them more immune. So put your worries aside and keep nourishing your little one!
 
Let’s get back to our topic and discuss the cold medications considered safe for breastfeeding mothers.

 

Antihistamines Safe For Breastfeeding

Cold is primarily characterized by allergic symptoms. Sneezing, runny nose, and red and itchy eyes are a few to name. The medications which help relieve these symptoms are known as antihistamines.
 
Generally, most antihistamines are considered safe during breastfeeding as only trace amounts are passed into the breast milk. However, first-generation antihistamines like chlorpheniramine and diphenhydramine, available under the brand names of ChlorTrimeton and Benadryl, respectively, have sedative side effects.
 
This implies that it can make your baby sluggish and drowsy. To avoid that, you can take the help of second-generation antihistamines, which do not have sedative side effects. The cold medicines which are most commonly recommended to nursing mothers to alleviate allergy symptoms include:-
 

Loratadine (Claritin)

Fexofenadine(Allegra)

Cetrizine(Zyrtec)

 
However, you have to consult your doctor for the appropriate dosage. These medicines are generally safe when taken alone, but when combined with a decongestant like Sudafed, they can affect milk production. 
 

Decongestants For Breastfeeding Mothers

Common cold can put you through a congested nose and heavy-headedness. To relieve those symptoms, decongestants are used. Pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are the most common cold medicines used to treat congestion caused by a common cold.
 
Since phenylephrine is not absorbed well from the guts, it does not usually pass into the breast milk and thus cannot affect the baby. However, pseudoephedrine passes into breast milk in trace amounts and is known to cause irritability in babies.

You don’t have to fret much since it does not result in other serious side effects that might require medical attention.

 
Another caveat is that pseudoephedrine has been the culprit in reducing milk supply. Studies show that it leads to constricted blood vessels in the breasts resulting in reduced blood flow and reduces serum prolactin(the hormone responsible for milk production), both of which cause the milk supply to dwindle. Phenylephrine might cause a similar problem but currently, there is not enough evidence to support it.
 
It is absolutely fine if you want to steer away from these medications to avoid any risks. You can use nasal sprays like oxymetazoline, fluticasone, and azelastine. However, ensure you do not use them for an extended period.

They are usually prescribed for not more than seven days. Consult your doctor and follow their guidelines closely for your and your baby’s safety.

 

Pain Relievers and Cough Suppressants Safe For Breastfeeding Moms

You might require a pain reliever if you have body aches and a sore throat. Ibuprofen, available under the brand names Advil and Mortin and acetaminophen, under the brand name Tylenol, is considered safe for breastfeeding mothers. Dextromethorphan for dry cough and Guaifenesin ER marketed as Mucinex for wet cough qualify as cold medicines safe for breastfeeding.


 

Things To Keep In Mind

You should always consider these few things if you catch a cold while breastfeeding.
 

Do not go by the brand names. Always go through the active ingredients present in the drugs. Drugs with the povidone-iodine need to be avoided as excessive exposure to iodine increase the risk of hypothyroidism in children.

Some medicines have alcohol in them, and it is best to stay away from those cold medicines. You should also be cautious of other ingredients which induce sleepiness, affect your milk supply and have the potential to cause damage to your baby’s health.

 

Extra-strength cold medicines are not the smartest choice to treat a cold while breastfeeding. You will need just one or two dosages of those drugs in a day.
However, they take a lot of time to clear up from your system, increasing your baby’s risk of getting exposed to them. Instead, prefer medications that are prescribed to be taken every four to six hours.

 

Try nursing your baby before every dose of medicine you take. This leaves a gap of three to four hours before the next feeding session, giving enough time for the drug to clear up from your body.

Otherwise, you can also express your breast milk before taking medicine and tap into the stored supply when it's time to feed your baby. You can check out
MomMed’s wearable electric breast pump for a super comfortable pumping experience.

 

Drugs that address multiple symptoms are usually not listed as cold medicines safe for breastfeeding. They can increase the risk of side effects in babies. Therefore, it is best to steer clear of them.
 

Home Remedies To Treat Cold

Natural remedies have always done wonders in treating symptoms of a cold. You can either complement your medications with home remedies or entirely rely on them to relieve the symptoms and help you feel better.
 
Drinking plenty of warm liquid can help with congestion. Lemon and honey in warm water is known to provide relief from cough. To ease sore and scratchy throat, gargle with warm salt water. Rest as much as you can to help your body heal. Moreover, supplement your diet with zinc and vitamin C to boost your immune system and fight off the cold faster.
 

Conclusion

By now, you must have a fair idea about cold medicines safe for breastfeeding mothers. However, we always recommend you consult your doctor before taking any medication to rule out possible risks. Do not panic if you catch a cold or stop breastfeeding, thinking your medicines might affect your little one. Stay calm and follow your doctor’s advice. You shall be fine soon!

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