Safe Cough Remedies While Breastfeeding

Updated on January 22, 2008
L.T. asks from San Francisco, CA
6 answers

I just gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on January 12th, and about a week later came down with a nasty cough. I'm not sure if it's cold or allergies, but I'm afraid to take anything while breastfeeding my little girl. Does anyone know of any safe or natural remedies to relieve my cough?

The worst part is I had some tearing in labor and each cough makes me pee a little and feels like I'm being ripped in two! Please help!


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answers from Salinas on

I heard garlic works. Just try putting a little garlic powder in the back of the mouth and that should do the trick.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Congrats on the birth of your child! I would suggest that you try:

-hot water with honey and fresh lemon squeezed into your mug.
-Organic Lemon tea
-Organic Yogurt (contains live and active cultures that will help boost your immune system)
-cranberry juice
-frozen or fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, etc.)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi L., we went through this too. Came home after c-sec to a house infected with three year old cooties from school. Dr told me anything in small amounts is Ok and let me sip on a little robotosin (sp?). I was very worried since breastfeeding but all was well and it made such a difference for me. I selected the nondrowsy formula, because remember I was nursing every 2 hours to build up my milk supply and had a live wire of a three year old patrolling the house without supervision unless I was on my game. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi L.,
Congratulations on your new baby girl. I fully understand your want to protect her and I am very glad to hear you are breastfeeding. As others have commented, many of the over the counter (OTC) medications for cough have been called into question as to efficacy; though I believe that straight Dextromethorphin (commonly Robitussin DM) is one of the safer OTC medications available as a cough suppressant. (There are many versions of Robitussin, most containing other medications as well, so be careful when selecting.)

If your cough will respond to comfort measures (such as the lemon and honey drink mentioned)then making sure you have what little rest an infant will allow, and keeping up with fluid and nutrition intake should help you make it through this virus. Some of the herbal teas can help as well. Traditional Medicinals is a fairly reputable brand and readily available. I personally find their Throat Coat Tea to be helpful for sore throats and irritated coughs.

If the cough is severe, especially if it does not allow you to sleep (between feeds) then you may need something stronger. Your physician should be able to help you. Severe coughs often respond well to low dose codeine which while not desirable unless medically indicated is relatively safe when used appropriately.

It is also important that you treat your pain sufficiently. Most common pain meds if used appropriately are quite safe. Pain and stress on the other hand may decrease milk supply.

If using a combination medicine please read labels carefully. I usually recommend avoiding psuedoephedrine (commonly called Sudafed) as it has been know to suppress milk supply temporarily. It is usually included to reduce nasal congestion. Non medicated (eg Saline) nasal sprays or washes may also assist with nasal congestion without affecting milk supply.

There is a book called "Medications and Mothers' Milk" by Thomas Hale that covers most common (and some uncommon) medications and is updated every two years. (I do not believe the 2008 edition is out yet so look for the 2006 version.) Many Lactation Consultants and others in the field have a copy and can look up any specific medication for you if you have questions. I do not know if it is readily available in the library system though I hope it is. In the appendix at the back is a section on cold remedies.

You can find a qualified Lacation Consultant on the International Lactation Consultant Association website at and through the Bay Area Lactation Association.

Please keep breastfeeding so you provide your daughter protection from the virus (as well as all those other great reasons).

K. H.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Congratulations on your baby!
I recently gave my two year old just a straight honey at night when she was coughing and it worked like a charm! I was skeptical but am not into cough medicine since our pediatrician doesn't recommend it and all the recent media info on the dangers of overdosing kids with cold/cough meds. Honey was the only option and it worked! Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

To a mug of hot water at one tablespoon of honey, the juice of half a lemon and a sprig of mint. My mom use to give this to me when I was a kid.

Good luck and congratulations on the new baby, sorry about the tearing.

1 mom found this helpful
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