How to Safely Treat a Cold
While Breastfeeding

When the itchy throat and runny nose hit me, I didn’t want to take any cold medicine knowing that it may have a negative effect on my breast milk and might not be safe for my baby. I figured that I could power through it, but I found it to be too much to fight the cold while taking care of my baby. So I scoured the Internet and consulted my mom friends for methods of relief that were safe my baby and my milk. And the good news is that there are plenty of natural ways to find quick relief.

Hot Liquids
This is helpful in soothing an itchy throat and cough. Have plenty of tea with with honey and lemon. 

Steam Showers
A steam shower will thin out the mucus build up. This is a great way to help new moms relax and have some alone time too.  

Vitamin C
You can get it from food, juice or a supplement.

Saline Spray
This will help drain any fluids. Just make sure to look at the ingredients. Most sprays have an active ingredient in them, but you can also find solutions that are made with just salt and water.

Hot Compress
If you have pressure in your ears that’s causing discomfort along your tubes, you can try a hot compress to relieve some of the pain. This works great for kids too.

If you are congested, this will help thin out the mucus and help clear it.

Salt Water Gargle
This is effective for a sore throat. Add a tablespoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Don’t drink it. Just gargle and spit it out. Do this several times.

Nasal Sprays
One of the only over the counter that I found was safe and it was very effective was Flonase. I remember being so sick and congested and the pressure in my nasal passages was unbearable. I wanted to use a saline spray but couldn’t find it. Flonase was the closest thing we could find. I did a google search and called my doctor and was given the ok. On, there’s an explanation for this over the counter medication:
“of the preparations available for treatment of allergic symptoms, corticosteroid nasal sprays (e.g., Flonase, Nasacort, etc.) and cromolyn sodium nasal spray (a mast cell stabilizer, e.g., Nasalcrom) are considered to be, by far, some of the most effective and safest to use in breastfeeding moms”.

That was great news. I used it once a day and by the second day I was a whole new person.

Over the Counter
This is where it gets tricky. As a breastfeeding mom, you run into the risk of passing active ingredients on to your baby that may not be safe and you could also be effecting your milk supply. Try to avoid anything that contains an antihistamine. I also try to avoid anything that has a drowsy side effect also as it will be passed onto my baby. There’s a short list of over the counter medicines that can be taken with minimal effects on your baby and milk, but as always—talk to your doctor before taking any medications. I am not a medical professional and cannot give medical advice.

Pain Relievers
Tylenol, Advil and Motrin are considered compatible with breastfeeding. Follow the recommended dosage. Aspirin is not considered safe.

Cough Drops and Lozenges
Cough drops and lozenges are considered safe and can provide much relief for sore throats and coughs. Avoid drops that are menthol flavored as menthol has been shown to decrease your milk supply.

Being sick is hard, but even more difficult when you have a baby to take care of too. Get some help so you can get the rest you need. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor…your baby is depending on you and needs you to be well.

What tips do you have to fight the common cold when breastfeeding?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and information shared on this blog should not be taken as medical advice.  Always consult with your medical provider concerning any issues you have regarding you or your baby.

Hello, I’m Kelly, a regular contributor on this blog. I live in Pennsylvania with my loving husband and our five beautiful children. I have a background in early childhood education, but I am currently homeschooling my kids. From pregnancy to postpartum to toddler life, I love sharing advice with other moms who are having a challenging time with this crazy but wonderful role of motherhood.

Your email address will not be published.

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.