What Medications are Safe While Breastfeeding?

Being a new mother is a difficult process. Your baby is now here. Your well-being suddenly becomes secondary and you’re not regretting even in the slightest because as any good mother does, you’d always prioritize your baby’s needs. You’d always be glad to put them first and you’ll keep on doing it for the rest of your life.

As noble as it is, the whole responsibility of being a mother can take its toll. The sleepless nights and unhealthy but quick alternatives for missed meals make it hard for you to stay in shape. Eventually a lot of us get sick, as much as we want to avoid it.

For your sake and your baby’s, you need to medicate. But is it safe considering you’re breastfeeding? Won’t it affect them?

Medication and breastfeeding

It is believed that whatever the mother eats or drinks, the baby is indirectly receiving it through the breast milk. However, experts have found out that this isn’t entirely true. The quality of your breast milk is not dependent at all on your diet. Yes, you definitely can get back to your coffee.

But experts also stressed the importance of having a healthy diet while breastfeeding because you simply have to stay healthy to be able to continue taking care of your child.

Going back to medication, it works the same way. Little amounts are only carried off to your breast milk so most medications are safe while breastfeeding. Let’s go over a few of them.

Pain Medication

You just delivered a baby into the world and that naturally hurts. Days after, the pain still lingers and there are days when you need to manage it. They do come in handy but are pain relievers safe while breastfeeding?

Yes. OTC pain medicines are safe to take when you need something to relieve pain. Being among the most popular drugs available in the market today, ibuprofen is considered the best option for lactating mothers. You may know it for the brands Advil and Motrin. Another recommended pain meds is acetaminophen, which we commonly recognize as Tylenol. Aspirin is also a common drug for managing pain and fever. However, experts discourage lactating moms from taking it.

When taking these medicines, you should always look out for side effects. Your body may not be taking it the way it normally does. There’s a slight chance that your baby can be affected too. So if you notice that you’re getting dizzy after taking it, experiencing nausea, heartburn, rash, etc, it’s best to consult a doctor.


The truth is, there’s little research about antihistamines’ effect on breastfeeding moms and their babies. However, when it comes to what allergy medication is safe to take while breastfeeding, it has been found out that loratadine and cetirizine are safe choices considering that only very small portion of it is transferred to the breast milk. Another reason why you should opt to these antihistamines is their non-sedating properties. If you take sedating antihistamines, your baby may experience side effects such as drowsiness.

Although they are generally safe while breastfeeding, non-sedating antihistamines should be taken with caution.


“Is it safe to take cold medicine while breastfeeding?”

This is perhaps the most common question I get from breastfeeding moms. The fear that even the most common type of medicine could hurt your child is just unbearable. So let’s take a look at your options.

You can take either phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine. What are these? You may recognize the former by its popular brand name Robitussin CF. It transfers minimal amounts to the baby as well and it doesn’t affect the milk supply, like what pseudoephedrine does. Although safe, this type of decongestant has been found out to have possible effects on the milk supply of the mother.

Cough Syrup

You took it all the time so you’ve never had to think twice about drinking cough syrup before. But now that you’re breastfeeding you’re worried if it can somehow affect your baby.

There are two types of cough medicine you can buy OTC. They are called antitussives and expectorants. Both are safe to take. The most common cough syrups in the market today are Mucinex, Robitussin Cough, Robitussin Chest Congestion, and Vicks 44.

It is common to take cough syrup along with other medicines such as decongestants or pain reliever. Although we mentioned that each of one is safe to take while breastfeeding, combining two or more is another thing. So as much as possible, don’t take different medications at once without your doctor’s go signal.

All throughout this article we stressed that most medications are safe. However, for you and your baby’s safety, I still advise you to talk to your physician before taking any of them.

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