Can I Take Dayquil While Breastfeeding?
One thing all parents can agree on is that taking care of an infant while you are sick is exhausting, and often miserable. For breastfeeding parents, taking a break is not even really an option! You still have to feed your baby, or at least pump, while you are ill.
When you have a cold that is making it difficult to function and impeding your (probably already-limited) sleep, it might seem like the natural choice to look to over-the-counter medicines like Dayquil for relief. But can you take cold medicine while breastfeeding? Is it safe to take Dayquil or other similar cold medicines in order to get relief?
Unfortunately, taking Dayquil is not recommended for breastfeeding parents. Keep reading to find out why, and what you can try instead.
How does Dayquil work to reduce cold symptoms?
Dayquil is made up of three separate medications:
Acetaminophen, to relieve pain and reduce fevers
Dextromethorphan, to suppress coughs
Phenylephrine, to ease congestion
Unfortunately, decongestants like phenylephrine can reduce milk supply and are not recommended for use while breastfeeding.
What are the potential side effects of Dayquil?
Because Dayquil contains a decongestant, the main side effect is a reduction in milk supply. Since decongestants are designed to narrow blood vessels and reduce phlegm production, they also cause milk production to slow down.
When your baby is getting less milk than they are used to, your baby might become irritable, want to nurse more often, or sleep less soundly. If milk production continues to decline over time, you may need to supplement breastfeeding in order to keep your baby satisfied.
Can I take Nyquil while breastfeeding?
Nyquil is also made up of three medications, and while it does not contain the decongestant phenylephrine, it does contain doxylamine, which is an antihistamine that can aid sleep.
Even though the problematic decongestant is absent from Nyquil, the antihistamine that it contains instead can also cause unwanted side effects during breastfeeding, and is not recommended for nursing mothers.
What are the potential side effects of Nyquil?
Doxylamine can cause a reduction in milk supply, and when taken for extended amounts of time can cause other negative side effects in a breastfed baby who is being exposed. Drowsiness and irritability are the most common side effects seen in babies whose breastfeeding parent takes Nyquil for several days in a row.
Another unwanted side effect of antihistamines is drowsiness in the breastfeeding parent. Caring for a breastfeeding infant safely requires the ability to remain alert and wake from sleep easily.
Will it ever be able to safely take Dayquil or Nyquil while breastfeeding?
As long as you are wanting to maintain you milk supply, you should avoid taking Dayquil or Nyquil. Even though having a cold while caring for a baby feels miserable, losing your milk supply even temporarily can lead to unpleasant side effects for you and your breastfed baby.
What cold medicine is safe for breastfeeding?
While you will need to avoid decongestant medications and antihistamines while breastfeeding, taking an over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help lessen headaches and lower fevers. Both are considered safe for breastfeeding when taken in appropriate doses.
Some natural and generally safe home remedies you can try include:
Honey – a natural and safe alternative that can ease coughing and help ease congestion without lowering milk supply.
Steam – a hot shower or steamy bath can loosen congestion and help to clear your sinuses. Just make sure to avoid steam from boiling water, as it could cause burns.
Tea – staying hydrated is an important part of getting well and maintaining your milk supply. Add a little honey to your tea, or even just a mug of warm water, in order to keep yourself hydrated while soothing your throat.
Taking cold medicines such as Dayquil and Nyquil is not considered to be safe while breastfeeding, and should be avoided. The decongestants and antihistamines found in these medications have both been known to lower milk supply or cause drowsiness in parents and nursing babies.
If you are experiencing a cold, it is best to focus on staying hydrated, getting as much rest as possible, and nourishing yourself with healthy foods that will promote wellness and help maintain your milk supply. Use an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen if needed for headaches or to lower a fever.
Steamy showers, tea, and honey are all generally considered safe, natural ways to ease your discomfort when you are faced with a cold. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner for extra help as you recover as well!
On the bright side, your breastmilk contains antibodies that will help support your baby’s health while you are experiencing sickness! Unless there is an emergent need to stop, it is usually advised to continue to breastfeed through common illnesses. If you were planning to wean, you might consider holding off until everyone is well in order to continue to provide the antibodies and nutrition from your breastmilk to your baby.