39 answers

Breastfeeding Moms W/allergies

As allergy season is taking a strong hold now I am suffering terribly. Last year when I was pregnant, I stopped taking all medicines but didn't seem to struggle with allergies so much. This year, I am still not taking anything (mostly because I don't know what is safe) because I am breastfeeding. I don't want my little guy to ingest anything he doesn't need to be exposed to. My family dr. wasn't too much help as he just recommended a nasal mist which has done nothing. Are there any other breastfeeding moms out there with allergies? What do you do to combat them? Benedryl? Claritin? Zyrtec?


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Try different nasal mists and stay on them long enough to let them work. Like you, I didn't want to ingest anything,and I have terrible allergies. The new generation of nasal mists are expensive, but very effective. You can find one.

Take a look at Kellymom.com, its a web site that deals with everything related to breastfeeding and you will probably find a lot of helpful information there.

I too suffer with seasonal allergies and have for a long time. Throughout my pregnancies and breast feeding I took Alavert. It has the same active ingredient as Claritin and when I asked my doctor about it, she said it was fine. I take it everyday and have for the past couple years. Hope this helps.
B. C

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sorry to hear about the allergies. Try an OTC homeopathic for allergies, they are relatively small doses and I have never heard of them having any bad effects on the nursing child. They can be found at most stores, I know Safeway has a good selection

You can try getting some raw honey that is produced in your local area, the closer to your home the better. It has been shown that eating that can help with seasonal allergies. Because the bees have been using the same plants that bother you to make the honey, sort of like a natural vaccination. Hooray for you for doing the best thing for your little one by breast feeding!!! That is SO wonderful!!! Another thing that works great is using a neti pot, you can get them at health food stores, mine came from www.organicfooddepot.com. It literally flushes all the crud out of your sinsuses and helps a lot!! I use mine in the shower, but you can do it at the sink too. There are also homeopathic remedies for allergies, you can also find them at the place I mentioned. Good luck to you!

Hi K.,
I too have terrible allergies and take a allergy medicine with the decongestant in it. When I stopped due to pregnancy I got multiple sinus infections and was told to go back on the allergy medicine because it was better than always needing antibiotics. I think I was on claritin-D then either that or Zytec-D and I stayed on while I breast fed. My daughter is now 7. Good luck.


Go Natural. There is a great product that has helped my husband tremendously. Email me if you'd like information!


ps. I'm a mom of four, currently breastfeeding my 6 month old

My pediatrician reccomended Claritin. My family doctor reccomended Zyrtec & Flonase. BE SURE NOT TO USE ZYRTEC D. It has a decongestant that can affect your milk and the baby. Just get the regular over-the-counter Zyrtec.

I have to say that I can't tell if one works better than the other or not. I only take them on days when I'm really suffering and then I get so busy before I know it it's the end of the day!! :)

One good thing is I didn't notice that either medicine made me drowsy, which was a big concern for me. I was able to function completely "normal".

Good luck!!! Enjoy your baby & hang in there!!

I have found that the homeopathic remedy allium cepa (derived from onions) really helped my seasonal allergies. Doctors don't usually recommend homeopathics because they are not regulated by the FDA, meaning that they haven't been tested by independent labs to make sure they contain what the manufacturer says they contain. That being said, my doctor did say that they can and do work, as long as you use a reputable brand. If you go this route, mention to your doctor or pediatrician that you are considering this and then go to a good pharmacy and ask which brands they recommend. I am from Austin, Texas originally and good pharmacies that do this sort of thing are really easy to find there; but I don't know about here.

I am currently pregnant and am taking Claritin and using Flonase nasal spray (both doctor prescribed). I also took them when I breastfed my first son and didn't see any impact on my milk supply. As others mentioned, they both work better and better if you use them on a regular basis, not just as you need them. Good luck!

Some other things to try:
Have your husband and you wash your hair every night before you go to bed.
That way you won't be sleeping in pollen.
I also use over the counter eye drops-Naphcon A. They actually not only help itchy eyes, but also itchy nose & ear canals,etc.

I too suffer with seasonal allergies and have for a long time. Throughout my pregnancies and breast feeding I took Alavert. It has the same active ingredient as Claritin and when I asked my doctor about it, she said it was fine. I take it everyday and have for the past couple years. Hope this helps.
B. C

2 different OBGYNs over the years told me that Benadryl and Clairatin are safe while pregnant/nursing. Claritin helps me the best. Call your OB and see what (s)he says. What is safe while pregnant will be safe now. Good luck!

Unfortunately, I don't know of anything besides the steroidal nasal sprays that you can take. The issue is not so much one of what your son is getting through the breastmilk, though that's important, but antihistamines will decrease your milk supply. I've suffered through 8 years of pregnancy and nursing and really just had to suffer through. It helped a lot to just stay inside, use the air conditioning and keep the windows closed, and use a normal saline spray to wash out my nose and keep things moving. I'm so sorry - it really stinks. Good luck and if you find out something else that works, I'd definitely be interested in finding out what it is, as I'm still nursing my 17 month old.

I have horrible allergies to grass and mold. I use a neti pot and it works great! It takes a little getting used to but once you get it. it's very effective. I use it once or twice a day as a preventative measure. Check out www.netipot.com

Good luck!


I'm pregnant with my first baby! I have asthma and bad seasonal allergies, and my (older, experienced) OB told me to keep up my medications: Singulair and the nasal mist as well as an inhaler. He said these medicines are safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding and the big danger is in the mom not getting enough air and allergy relief to be any good to the baby!

I am 36 weeks pregnant and my doc said that Zyrtec was okay for me to take. I used to take Allegra (one of the only meds that helped my allergies) but infortantly it is not recommended for being pregnant or breastfeeding. When I had my daughter in 05 I was told the Zyrtec was safe for breastfeeding. I have also researched it recently and everything I have seen said it is safe. It is a Benedryl product in fact they just don't tell ya that. Besided Allegra Zyrtec is the only thing that has worked for me. I am glad that it is over the counter now. My whole family is on it!!!

Good Luck!

Try different nasal mists and stay on them long enough to let them work. Like you, I didn't want to ingest anything,and I have terrible allergies. The new generation of nasal mists are expensive, but very effective. You can find one.

Take a look at Kellymom.com, its a web site that deals with everything related to breastfeeding and you will probably find a lot of helpful information there.

oh, poor K.!
i appreciate your desire to keep your baby free from drugs, but feel for your miz'ry.
i too would be very leery of what the doctors say is safe. so many drugs don't reveal their true bad effects until years after everyone's been using them. i'd stick with a netti-pot, local honey, humidifier and homeopathic stuff for as much as you possibly can.
the problem with allergy drugs is that most of them are only effective if you take them regularly, their effect is cumulative. so just taking a minimal dose when you're having a truly terrible day isn't much good.
it seems as if allergies are getting worse and worse each year!
good luck to you.

Hi, K..

Dr. Thomas Hale has a book about medicines for b-feeding moms. I take it to doc appts to show them what to give me.

I'm on FIVE allergy drugs right now: xyzal and singulair pills, and veramist, flonase and astelin sprays. I occasionally have hyperallergic flare ups that are fixed only by a run of predisone, and that's why my doc upped the number of allergy meds. I'm still b-feeding, btw, though she's two, so the drugs don't affect her as they might a newborn or an infant with a compromised immune system.

Good luck.

I also have terrible allergies, which were better during pregnancy!

I'm assuming you have seasonal or mold allergies? Both my midwife and the ped said Claritin is okay (but not claritin-d)

I also keep an eye on local pollen levels at weather.com and try to head off the symptoms before they start, since my 4-month old DD always wakes up when i sneeze!

Good luck!

I am in the same boat. I was told to stop taking my Clarinex while pregnant and nursing. I have suffered badly this "pollen" season. I really just try to stay indoors and keep the windows closed. There have been occasions where I had to take a sudafed or a benadryl...the lactation consultant said that is fine as long as it's every once in a while...not daily!
best of luck!

There is no reason you need to suffer through allergy season. Most medications are safe for nursing baby's, If your family dr. wasn't helpful, check with pediatrician if you have one or O.B.. There is a book these Dr. should have called "Medications and Mothers Milk" request they look the medications up and tell you what is the safest. A lactation consultant is also a really good resource and most definately will have this book. Good luck. And you have a very lucky baby!

Check kellymom to be sure, but I am pretty sure that it is okay for the baby if you take Claritin -- the only problem is that it might decrease your milk supply. I used the saline nasal sprays (not to little dropper kind, but the big bottles that look like hairspray bottles). They actually work a little bit. If you are really miserable, take a claritin and drink lots and lots of water.

I would talk to your OB or your son's pediatrician.

Hi K.~

I have terrible allergies as well, and when I was pregnant or nursing, the doctor said the same thing. Saline spray, Claritin, and Flonase, I think. There is no such thing as overdosing on saline, either. Take it all the time! Try also all the in-home allergy fighting methods... air filter, etc. Good luck... it's no fun, but it's worth the safety of your little one.

Take care~

Homeopathic remedies are safe to take while pregnant and or nursing. Also safe for your baby in case he needs to take something. Look for a homeopath or naturpath in your area.
There are easy remedies to help with allergies. Also acupuncture is a safe, tried and true way to get relief as well.
Feel free to email me if you have any quesiton.

I hear ya dear! I am also nursing and dealing with the awful allergies in VA...hate em!
I can't take anything either...I guess we are just suppose to grin and bear it...I know that was no help...but know that you are not alone! I think aside from the mist that maybe benadryl is an option...not too sure though, check into that!
Good luck.

Hi K. -

I am breastfeeding now and have allergy issues. My doctor prescribed Claritin (when you needed a prescription) and I have also taken benadryl and Zyrtec. For people with severe allergies they will prescribe claritin and zyrtec in the last trimester of pregnancy, so I feel confident that it won't hurt my baby. She is my third. I breasfed all three and at some point had to take medications (OTC and prescription) with all of them. Happy to report that everyone is a-okay --- healthy with no problems. Hope this helps.

A. T.

I dealt with allergies and breastfeeding with 2 kids. It's no fun. I used nasal spray for the first. It wasn't very helpful. With number 2 I used eye drops and nasal spray and it was a little bit better. The eye drops I used were Zaditor, they work amazingly well for eyes (12 hour relief).
I finally started taking Claritin and weaned my daughter, I couldn't take it any more. I didn't wait to see if it dried me my milk up or not. But.. she was around 1 year so I didn't feel too bad.
Good luck. I know how miserable it can be.

I am also breastfeeding with terrible allergies. While I was pregnant I was taken off my nasal spray, Flonase. However, I was able to take Zyrtec. Now that I am breastfeeding I am back on Zyrtec and Flonase. You can call CVS and ask what category these drugs are in. I have double and triple checked and doctors and pharmacists have all given these 2 drugs the okay! Thank goodness :) Good luck!

I know how bad allergies can be - as you said I did not take any meds while pregnant and also continued that into 16 months of breastfeeding. I just tried my best home methods such as humidifiers, vitamin c, etc. I do know decongestants can assist in drying up your breast milk so you may want to be very cautious if you do decide to take anything and also be very cautious on what meds can be passed through your breast milk.

Hi K.,

Sorry to hear about your allergy troubles and I hope this helps: You may be able to deal with the cause of your allergies rather than the symptoms. Indoor air is far more heavily polluted than outdoor air, and that is because of the chemicals people use in their homes. Look at a popular product such as Lysol for example - you just need to do a quick Google of the ingredients to find out that it is made up of 79% ethyl alcohol; again a quick Google will bring up a list of effects this can have on humans. Amongst other things, it states: "causes irritation to the respiratory tract". This is bound to have a direct effect on someone who is prone to allergies. If their respiratory tract is slightly irritated because they have been in an environment where these kind of chemicals are used, then when there are other aggravations such as a high pollen count for example then that is when you will have bad allergy symptoms.
A year ago I decided to use only naturally based products in our house for environmental reasons. After a couple of months I suddenly realised that my daughter's constant sniffles had stopped and I asked my husband, who has suffered with allergies his whole life, whether he had noticed any difference. He said he had stopped using his allergy medications.
It has been fantastic (not to mention the fact that it is so much better for the children not to have poisons and suspect chemicals around the house).
If you like the idea of trying natural products then just send me a message and I will be happy to tell you more about what I use.

K., I think Claritin is OK. There is a book called the Nursing Mother's Companion that has a list of medications (which ones are OK and which aren't) in the back. Good luck!

I suggest going to the La Leche League International website. They are the authorities on all things related to breastfeeding. There should also be contact info. there for your local LLLI leader and they should be able to help. Many doctors do not have the most current info on drugs and breastfeeding. Much of the most current info comes from LLLI

Hi K.,

You need to see what you are allergic too.

There is a Laboratory that does blood testing for Allergies. Their web site is: www.alcat.com

Your Family Doctor can give you a requisition to take to your lab to have your blood drawn.

There is a web site for people who have allergies to foods.


Hope this helps. Good luck. D.

Sorry to say, to the best of my knowledge there is nothing much you can do. I too suffer from really horrible allergies, and when I was preg. and breastfeeding (I have a 6 year old and a 2 year old--I nursed the 6 year old for her first 17 mos., and my 2 year old for his first 22 mos.) I did not take anything. My Dr. 's all told me that antihistamines can decrease your milk supply, so no claritin, no zyrtec etc. I did take benedryl once when I was having an extreme allergy attack and felt like my throat might be closing up. I was told by a pharmacist that occasional benedryl was safe if you really needed it. Other than that I just lived with it until I was no longer breastfeeding. It's funny--much like you, my allergies did not bother me as much when I was pregnant.

Hang in there, and good luck--maybe you'll find a safe treatment I was unaware of--I know allergies can be miserable!


And try a netti pot to clean your nose out.
1/4 uniodied salt to 1 cup water (distilled is best not city water)

And maybe natural anti-inflammatories food sources like pineapple!
God Bless you!

I took zyrtec during my entire pregnancy and am still taking it while nursing my 7 month old. Zyrtec is a L2 drug for nursing, so it's ok. i think that claritin is better for you but does nothing for me. zyrtec has been reported to decrease your milk supply a little, but i couldn't live without my zyrtec. I tried to go off it before I was pregnant and ended up with worse asthma. My ob and primary doctor highly encouraged me to continue taking my zyrtec. hope this helps.

I have allergies and asthma, and am nursing 2-month old twins. I take 24-hour Claritin, Singulair, and my doctor just put me back on the nasal steroid Nasonex. Bear in mind that all of these medicines work better if you take them every day, not just when you think you need them.

All three of those are safe to breastfeed with. I have terrible allergies so I am on Zyrtec and Singulair and they are approved to be safe. It is best for you to be comfortable during high allergy season. Also, try not to go outside before 10 am if possible. Early in the morning is when there is a higher pollen count. Hope this helps.

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