We are often asked for our advice regarding medications that breastfeeding mother's may take while they have symptoms of colds, allergies, and sinus infections. We generally advise to avoid medications as much as possible while breastfeeding. However, we recognize breastfeeding mom's may want to take a medication to help with their symptoms.
Based on our experience, what we have read, and scientific research, this is what we want you to know:
1. Know that decongestants (such as Sudafed) and antihistamines (such as Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl, and Allegra) sometimes decrease a mother's milk supply. This is hard to know if this is going to happen to you, but be especially cautious if you struggle with your milk supply.
2. Side effects for infants can include drowsiness, wakefulness, and irritability. If they happen with one dose, they are likely going to happen each time you take the medication. If worrisome, stop taking the medication. Your infant may not show any sign of side effects, however.
3. Sudafed (decongestant) or Benadryl (antihistamine) are generally considered safe to take and are options for you to take.
4. The less-sedating antihistamines for allergies (Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra) are also fine.
As always, I like what the website Kelly Mom has to say about this issue. Please call if you have questions!