You’re already exhausted from being a new mom, so getting sick is probably a nightmare. No worries, mama. Here’s what you need to know about taking cold medicine during breastfeeding.
What are the pros and cons of taking cold medicine during breastfeeding?
You can use OTC and prescription-strength cold remedies while nursing a child, but only under certain circumstances and usually in very small doses. There are also some pros and cons to consider before saying “ah.”
This is what healthy moms can expect when they take cold medicine while nursing a baby:
- They start feeling better much faster.
- The medicine limits the risk of their sickness causing a chain reaction.
- Fewer people get sick as a result of being in contact with them (including the baby).
But here’s what you need to be aware of before taking anything, over-the-counter or otherwise:
- Some medications can enter the baby’s bloodstream through your breastmilk.
- Over-the-counter medicines aren’t as safe or reliable as prescriptions.
- The flavor of your breastmilk could change and repulse the baby.
- Cold medicines can make you feel drowsy, which might make it difficult to care for small children.
To stay safe, always talk to your doctor before taking any cold medicine during breastfeeding. And if possible or necessary, ask someone for help watching the older kids while you get better.
Are there any home remedies for a cold while nursing?
Treating a cold can be tough, but that doesn’t mean you have to automatically take cold medicine during breastfeeding. That’s because there are several natural remedies that might be safer for the baby and more effective for you. So, here are some quick at-home tips to get you started:
- Rub methol under your nose, on your temples, and over your chest.
- Apply nasal strips to open congested airways.
- Eat a few sore throat lozenges to slow or stop your coughing.
- Take the recommended dose of acetaminophen for pains and fevers.
- Drink plenty of water to keep yourself from becoming dehydrated.
With good support, healthy women should start feeling better within a week or so. For an even faster recovery, get lots of rest, stay clean, and eat a well-balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals. Remember, bad nutrition and hygiene can lead to breastmilk tooth decay and other problems.
How to safely take cold medicine during breastfeeding
All mothers and babies are different, so don’t treat this as a sweeping analysis. In general, however, it’s usually safe for a mom to treat her cold with medicine even if she’s also a milk machine. But these are the five steps all nursing mothers should take first:
- Consult a pediatrician for medical advice because that’s not what this is.
- Choose medicines that don’t transfer into your baby’s system through your milk.
- Start out with a half dose to prevent adverse reactions and to monitor side effects.
- Follow the recommendations on the label because they were put there for a reason.
- Stop taking it if you experience bad side effects or start feeling better.
Be sure to monitor your baby’s behavior while taking cold medicine during breastfeeding. If you notice anything strange, see a doctor and change your treatment immediately.