Everyone gets a cold at one time or another. For most of us, we run to the store or pharmacy and grab something. In a few days we’ll start to feel better, in a week the cold is likely gone. But what happens when you’re breastfeeding? Can I take cold medicine while breastfeeding and are there medicines that need to be off limits so as not to harm our little ones?
So now you're asking yourself, if I'm breastfeeding with a cold what can I take? That’s what we’ll be looking at today. Just whether or not, all cold medicines are created equally when it comes to nursing mothers or are there better alternatives to consider. Some of the things we’ll explore are;
Whatever you put in your body is likely to be passed on to your little one through your breastmilk. In general most over the counter (OTC) medications are safe for breastfeeding mums. But there are some that can have effects on both mum and baby. So before we run out to pick something up to knock out that cold, let’s talk a little about choosing the right medicine.
Typically you want to choose something that not only helps you feel better quickly. You also want something that won’t make you feel drowsy and still allow you to take care of you little one effectively. There are also some medication with ingredients that you want to avoid because they can affect breast milk in different ways.
So what cold medicine can you take while breastfeeding? The best types of cold medicines to take are ones that only treat one symptom at a time and are short acting formulas. It’s easier to minimize risk when you use a single symptom medication. So if you’re having issues with allergies you may only want to take an antihistamine. For congestion, use only a decongestant.
Pseudoephedrine the ingredient that is common in most decongestants constricts blood vessels in order to provide relief. It’s been thought to also reduce milk production in newly breastfeeding mums. It is however generally safe to take while breastfeeding if not a new mum because less than one percent of it is passed on in breast milk.
There are luckily only a few ingredients that should not be taken by breastfeeding mums. Most over the counter medications are safe enough to be used for small amounts of time. The medicines with off limits ingredients either cause harmful effects in mum, the little one, or because they greatly reduce breast milk production. A few of these are;
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s explore some medicines that are perfectly safe for mum and baby. You may already know some of these, and other you may not, so this list will help to cut down on the confusion.
If you’re still concerned about passing something onto your baby no matter the amount, there are quite a few natural or holistic methods that you can use. Most of these won’t act quite as quickly as an over the counter medication. But the knowledge that they’re completely safe for baby will might make it worth it for you.
Almost all of these methods will be preventative. So you would take them before you have symptoms of a cold or flu and it helps to keep them at bay. Others will work just as well at the onset of symptoms.
A combination of vitamins such as Vitamin C and D offer a boost to the immune system. You can take them both in pill form, but are also available in liquid forms. But you might like to take something that’s easy to take and can be added to water and other drinks. The immune booster Emergen-C is available at most groceries and pharmacies, in a powder in various flavours.
Echinacea is a natural supplement
There are many things that you can find in your very own home that can be used as natural remedies for colds and flus. Some will be things that you’ve never even thought of.
As with anything having to do with your health or the health of your baby however, you should always consult your physician before starting any treatment. Some things will work for some people and not for other, because everyone’s immune system is different and will tolerate things differently.
Generally most over the counter medications are safe for both a breastfeeding mum and baby. The key is to avoid multi-symptom medications and pseudoephedrine if you’ve only just started breastfeeding. Consulting with your physician at the first signs of a flu or cold will give you a better idea of which ones are completely off limits before you take something.
If still apprehensive, as we’ve discussed, there are quite a few natural homeopathic remedies that readily available in your kitchen’s pantry for use. Hopefully there is less confusion on the what cold medicine can you take while breastfeeding question. Hopefully this was helpful and you’ll pass along this new knowledge to some else who may need it.