Breastfeeding during allergy season can be complicated when trying to figure out which medications are safe to take. Decongestants are one of the most common types of drugs people choose during allergy season to fight symptoms. However, there are active ingredients included that are known to cause issues with breastfeeding. It is usually safe to moderately use nasal sprays like Afrin while breastfeeding to help clear nasal passages. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to speak to your doctor to make sure any new medication is safe for you and your baby.
Is it Safe to Take Afrin Breastfeeding Your Baby?
Generally, most allergy medications are okay to take while breastfeeding your baby. However, you should use caution when choosing decongestants. Several decongestants use the active ingredient pseudoephedrine. This ingredient can not only affect your baby, but it is also known to cause a dramatic decrease in milk supply and production. Afrin is a nasal spray form of a decongestant. According to MilkWorks, nasal sprays like Afrin absorb poorly through the nasal passages. Nasal sprays do not absorb into your bloodstream the same way decongestants in pill form do, making Afrin a safe medication to take while breastfeeding.
The Science Behind Medications and Breastfeeding
Various medications affect breastfeeding in different ways. It is always a good idea to research the desired medicine and ask your pediatrician before ingesting. When you take medications, they absorb into your bloodstream. In turn, the drug will become present in your breast milk. The amount of the drug present in breast milk is usually minuscule, but some medications can show a more prominent presence in the milk. Studies show that decongestants can cause your baby to be more irritable or lethargic than usual.
Natural Remedies to Try Instead of Afrin for Breastfeeding Mothers
If you are nervous about taking over the counter medications for your allergies, there are many natural remedies to combat symptoms. While these remedies are not a quick fix like you may want, they are better for your body and your breastfeeding journey with your baby.
Nasal Rinses With Saline
One of the most common natural remedies for congestion is a saline nasal rinse. The Neti pot is a great drug-free option to help with allergy symptoms. Simply mix warm, purified water with a saline packet in the Neti pot. Tilt your head back with the pot’s tip pouring into one nostril, and let the mixture flow out of the other nostril freely. The saline mixture helps keep your nasal passages moist while preventing allergins from clogging the nasal cavity.
Vitamin C is present in many citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. These fruits are also high in antioxidants, which work together to boost your immune system. Give yourself a boost by incorporating citrus fruits into your diet. Citrus fruits make excellent fresh snack options and are even a healthy choice to add flavor to your water. You can also take a prenatal vitamin that includes vitamin C for an additional boost.
Did you know that your immune system can be affected by dehydration? When your body is dehydrated, your immune system must work extra hard to keep you healthy, causing a repercussion effect. Drinking enough water is one of the most effective ways to combat allergy symptoms naturally. While breastfeeding, you should be drinking twice as much water as you would typically need. Hydration also aids in the production of breastmilk and is excellent for your overall health.
Though you may have access to more medications while breastfeeding than you did while pregnant, you should still be cautious. Research active ingredients and their effect on milk production and your baby. As always, talk with your doctor or pediatrician about introducing new medications to understand if they are safe to consume.