Taking Medicine While Breastfeeding ... ??

Updated on April 24, 2008
H.P. asks from South Hadley, MA
10 answers

Question: I have a bad cold and really need to take a Sudafed type pill to clear my nose so that I can breathe--particularly at night. Do you know whether this will hurt my 2 month old who I'm breastfeeding? Does anyone know which over-the-counter medicines are safe for breastfeeding moms who are sick? Your knowledge is much appreciated.

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So What Happened?

What great advice! Thanks tremendously for sharing. I will take all of you up on all of your advice and am excited about the new things I learned through your help. Take care.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I recently had a sinus infection and to help with congestion the doctor and pharmacist said I could take regular, plain sudafed. It does help but not as much as other medications, but at least it is safe for the baby:)

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answers from Colorado Springs on

I had the same problem. My dr. said I could take anything but crack! ok he was joking but anything over the counter is fine. He did recommend taking it right after you had finished breastfeedin, and if you take something like nyquil and notice you're little one is a little sleepier than normal you may want to stop taking that.



answers from Grand Junction on

You can take medicine while you are breastfeeding and it wont go to your baby. your body will filter out what your baby does not need and what baby does need. take some stuffy nose med it will make you feel better. Remember to drink lots of liquids while you are feeling yucky as your baby takes a lot out of you.



answers from Denver on

If you want to avoid medicine altogether a nasal wash that you can get at Walgreens and such may be relief enough. It has helped me tremendously this pregnancy as I'm not allowed to take anything for allergies and we're right in the middle of allergy season. This is the best I have ever felt in the Spring. Otherwise, a nose spray is always safe as it doesn't get absorbed into the body the same way, so it's not processed for the baby. My understanding is that anything but Sudafed PE is okay and you want to avoid the big combo drugs as they usually have one ingredient that's better to avoid. It starts with a G, but I can't remember the whole name. I hope you feel better soon.



answers from Denver on

I'm sorry you're feeling sick. But congrats on your 2 month old, and congrats on successfully breastfeeding! It's the best for her and for you!

Consider calling a lactation constultant or La Leche League leader. Both will have the book, Medication and Mother's Milk. This has all the drugs available and any effects that could be passed on through breastmilk. I know one issue with Sudafed is that it can decrease supply. Doesn't happen to everyone, but can be an issue. Claratin, not Claratin D, is supposed to be pretty benign.

I've had tremendous luck with a natural route - chinese herb called Bi Yan Pian, with colds for my whole family. You can get it at Whole Foods, was recommended by my son's naturopath.

Enjoy your little one!



answers from Salt Lake City on

I would try Afrin, or any other nasal spray decongestant. They work way better than sudafed and they don't get into your breast milk like oral meds do.



answers from Cheyenne on

I was told by my doctor that you shouldn't take anything but asprin while breastfeeding, but they don't have decongestants here, so I don't know about that. But I know you can use most nasal sprays and those work really well for me. Hope you are feeling better soon!



answers from Salt Lake City on

The big problem with sudafed is it can decrease your milk supply. I have taken it in the past, and as long as I didn't take more than one or two doses, I didn't have a problem.

There's a website called http://www.kellymom.com that you can do a search for medications and breastfeeding, and it will tell you how safe it is. http://www.kellymom.com/health/meds/cold-remedy.html this is their advice for colds.

As always, talk to your doctor about your specific situation.



answers from Denver on

sudafed was ok'd by my dr (but I weaned my last one 3 years ago).
you might want to avoid it after 2 or 3 in the afternoon. It keeps me awake and kept my oldest awake too. I clearly remember one night, I was wide awake at 2 a.m. and I could hear him (6 mos old) wide awake but happy in his crib. this went on for at least an hour!
I would echo the other responses to try a nasal spray first or nasal irrigation.



answers from Providence on

My pediatrician said I could take most over the counter stuff. But like someone already said, try to take it once you're done breastfeeding. Everything WILL go in your breastmilk, just maybe in low doses. So the cold medicine stuff will most likely make them sleepy. Of course it is always better not to take the medicine, but if you need to, just do it in moderation. I hope you feel better!!

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