15 answers

Nursing Mother with a Cold...

I'm nursing my son and we both have a cold. What over the counter meds are ok for me to take??? I've tried to tackle it on my own but I don't seem to be getting any better. I have to get rid of the stuffiness and the headache.

What can I do next?

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I was told by two doctors NOT to take sudafed because it would dry up my milk supply (it is safe, but not good for supply). They both told me to take claritin.

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Have you tried Zicam? I am also a nursing mother of a 4 month old, and my Dr said as long as the med doesn't have sudafed, or that main ingredient of sudafed in it, then you should be ok. (Sudafed dries up your milk). I used that new Zicam product for Cold & Flu - it's a liquid that comes in a plastic spoon type thing that you can stir in some hot tea. They make daytime and night time versions and they worked awesome for me. My cold was gone in 2 days.

I nurse and i pretty much take meds like i am pregnant. i was told by my dr that i could take anything with tylenol in it. so you can take tylenol cold or any of those.

Hi. I just went through this same thing. I asked the pharmacist and she told me Sudafed was ok (the real kind that you have to get at the pharmacy and sign for.) Take as little as possible though b/c it WILL dry up your milk. I tried not take any, but ended up giving in. Just make sure you drink lots of water and nurse often. You will be fine! :)

I was told not to take any of the multi-symptom medicines.

Zinc works the best for me and it's cheap and not harmful for your baby. Since he's only 4 months old and not on solid foods yet, you can just take the zinc and I believe it will come through in your milk (my son never got a cold before I started him on solid food, so I didn't have that issue. Now when he gets a cold, I mash up part of a zinc tablet in his food). Hope you both get better soon!

J.,
I am a Certified Birth Doula with a seven year old and a two year old. (both are boys and both nursed.) You would be surprised at what you can take!! Don't give up on nursing!! I applaud your efforts!
You need this reference book by Thomas W. Hale, Ph.D, Medications and Mothers' Milk
He has researched everything you can name to find out how safe it is for nursing/pregnant moms. He did this due to the high number of doctors who would tell a mom to stop nursing to take a medication with no research to back it up.
In the meantime, he has a website, www.iBreastfeeding.com
You can also look up and read his forums by typing and googling his name. You can look up different meds. on the forum and see how he answered.
If you have a med. you want to take, please email it to me and I will look it up in the book for you. I won't recommend anything b/c I cannot as a doula. I can only share the information with you.
If you are planning on having more children, this is a must have....even if you are only nursing one. Things come up. I even referenced this book and the forum for recommendations on a dye when I had to have a CAT scan.
Let me know if I can help you further.
Please email me back and let me know how it is going. I will be out of town tomorrow and will be back Sunday, 2/10/08.
Blessings,
S. W. Grant,BA,CD(DONA)

My doc says basically anything you can take when you're pregnant is ok when you're nursing. It's hard b/c every doc and every Mom has a different opinion of what's ok. But I nursed my son and am currently nursing my daughter and am currently taking Tylenol cold. I've also taken Nyquil (go ahead and gasp - but was oked by my doc). Also Robatussin DM is ok for cough.

Hope you feel better soon!

I was also told that sudafed was okay. Basically anything without an antihistamine is what I was told.

I have nursed four children. I have always taken Sudafed or Tylenol sinus when I needed to. If those don't help, call your doctor and find out what else you can take. I hope this helps.

My doctor also warned me against Sudafed. However Zicam was ok'ed and it worked WONDERS this past Christmas when our whole family got sick.
Also, that previously mentioned book is "Medications and Mother's Milk: A Manual of Lactional Pharmacology." I have it as well, and find it really, really useful. You can get it at Barnes and Noble of on Half.com...

When I was pregnant I tried not to take anything unless I was miserabe and HAD to take something. Usually not until bedtime. Then I took motrin and/or sudafed. My dr told me that motrin was ok for nursing moms but not tylenol. I don't know why since i was told during preg tylenol was ok but no motrin. but i had to trust my doc. but like i said, i only took it when absolutly necessary.

Best thing to do is talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you quick answers when your head is all stuffy and don't feel like reading. That's what I did before I weaned my son.

Most over the counter cold medications are okay for a nursing mom. you can go to kellymom.com and it will give you a complete list of medications that are safe for nursing mothers. Tylenol is always the safest bet when you're unsure...all tylenol products are safe.
Don't necessarily listen to the advice that if you can take it while you're pregnant, you can take it when you nurse, because that isn't always true. There are medications you can take while pregnant that you cannot or will at least have trouble with when nursing. It affects the baby differntly.
I'm a breastfeeding counselor and I have a HUGE book of every medication that is safe and unsafe to take while you are nursing. Kellymom.com has the same list from that book, I haven't checked lately to see if it's updated for the 2006 edition of the book but it's still accurate.
The only reason you may want to stay away from antihistamines is because it can cause a decrease in milk, because that's what it does, dry you up! so, just be careful with those.
Whatever you do take, take it after you'd nursed and not right before. that will lessen any affects it may have on him, which would only be sleepiness

I was told by two doctors NOT to take sudafed because it would dry up my milk supply (it is safe, but not good for supply). They both told me to take claritin.

Sudafed is okay to take, as well as benedryl

Hi J. W, I ran a massage therapy pratice for the past decade and did and still do alot of Aroma Therapy. You don't need to eat it so it woln't pass through the breast milk and it is natural and has no side effect like drugs do. Get some essential oils. The one that would help your congestion most and the headaches because they are probably related is Peppermint. I sell aroma therapy products through Young Living They have a website but you must buy through a distributor (like Avon). But you can find essential oils at a health food store. Beware because even at the health food store there are synthetics that are trying to get passed off as the real thing. Look for a Bontanical name usually listed under the name of the oil. For example Peppermint will say Mentha Piperita. Another clue is if the aroma therapy is all the same price per bottle it is junk don't go near it. Aroma Therapy is not about "OH that smells good" . It is about the properties that each essential oil have and how they can effect your body. Put a tincy bit of the oil on each side of nose just above the nostrils on the left and right out side of the nostrils. If the oils are too intense use a lotion or vegtable oil to ease the minty sensation a bit, remember oil and water don't mix. The Peppermint will open up your sinuses and help you to drain a bit. This may releive some pressure and hopefully that will aleiviate the headache. Also use a salt water or saline solution in you nose to get the sinuses open and get rid of some of the mucus. You may have used this on your baby, well it will work on you too. And , you don't need to buy it at the store just mix some salt with water. It works better when it is a little warm. Tilt your head back and put drops in your nose till you can taste a salty taste in you mouth. Then have a good cup of herbal tea to hydrate and get that nasty taste out of your mouth. Drink as much water as you can. You are nursing and with blowing your nose you are losing extra fluids. Flush that cold out of your system. Last but not least a good pot of Chicken soup. Good luck I hope you feel better.

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