Is It Safe To Take Phenylephrine While Breastfeeding?

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Are you wary of using any medications while breastfeeding? Are you concerned that even common medicines for cold and cough could harm your nursing child? If you said yes, then your worries are not unwarranted. But, don’t let your worries get the better of you. We are here to help you!

A drug may contain compounds that can harm your child via his exposure through your breast milk. Therefore, practice extreme caution when it comes to using medicines while breastfeeding, even when the drug under consideration contains a widely-used medicinal substance such as Phenylephrine. Read the post here, and learn all about Phenylephrine while breastfeeding, and its safety for nursing moms.

What Is Phenylephrine?

Phenylephrine is a type of decongestant. It helps treat nasal congestion or discomfort that occurs due to illnesses such as hay fever, cold, flu, sinusitis, and allergies. The use of Phenylephrine doesn’t actually treat the illness. But it helps reduce the inflammation of the nasal blood vessels and thus provides temporary reprieve to the patient.

Phenylephrine is available in many forms such as regular tablets, extended-release pills, liquids and sprays. It is also added to other medicines [1].

Is It Safe To Take Phenylephrine While Breastfeeding?

Medical professionals have some concerns with all decongestant use while breastfeeding a child [2]. Phenylephrine is a decongestant, and experts don’t advise using it while you are nursing.

  • Phenylephrine is known to be relatively safe for breastfeeding women. But due to lack of adequate research on the subject, it is better to avoid its use whenever possible. So, no! It is not safe to use Phenylephrine while you are breastfeeding.

[ Read : Is It Safe To Take Antibiotics While Breastfeeding ]

  • Due to low bioavailability of Phenylephrine (oral use), it is considered a low-risk compound that can harm nursing babies [3]. But, oral or intravenous Phenylephrine use may reduce the supply of breastmilk. Nasal sprays containing Phenylephrine may have a less adverse affect on breast milk. If you are a nursing mother with poor production of breast milk then use drugs containing phenylephrine with caution [4].
  • If you are a nursing mother, it is better to avoid the use of decongestants in any form. Phenylephrine may cause restlessness and irritability in breastfeeding infants. However, there is insufficient evidence to support this study. Other decongestants such as pseudoephedrine and ephedrine pose greater harm to a nursing infant [5].

Phenylephrine And Breastfeeding – Side Effects:

The use of Phenylephrine can lead to many side effects during breastfeeding. Some prominent ones include:

  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Shaking
  • Poor blood flow to hands and feet
  • Lightheadedness
  • Irritation in the nasal passage [6]

Medicine Use And Breast Milk Fact Sheet:

If you are a nursing mother, you may find the below information useful.

  1. All drugs can pass into the breastmilk to some degree. But the extent and possible risks may depend on factors such as the type of medicine, levels of drug compounds present in the mother’s body and the fat density of the breast milk.
  1. Health of the baby is also a factor in risks from drug exposure during breastfeeding. Newborns, preterm babies and sick infants are at a greater risk from medication exposure through breastmilk compared with breastfeeding babies who are a few months older.
  1. Nursing mothers must not avoid medicines, unless it is necessary. For instance, non-treatment may pose more harm to the mother and the newborn than exposure to certain drugs.
  1. Scheduling breastfeeding before the medicine dose can minimize your child’s exposure to harmful medicinal compounds.
  1. Expressing breast milk for your child before your medicinal dose can also lower his risk of drug exposure through breastfeeding [7].

[ Read : Is Drugs Safe While Breastfeeding ]

Treatment Guidelines For Breastfeeding Mothers With Congestion Problems:

If you have a cold or congestion problem, you may want to consult your doctor for safe drug use while breastfeeding as well as about continuing to breastfeed your child through your illness. Here are some other options:

  1. To treat nasal congestion and other cold symptoms, nursing mothers can try safe natural remedies in lieu of medicines containing phenylephrine. Lemon, honey, ginger, regular intake of warm water through the day and some herbal teas can provide relief from nasal congestion. However, consult with your doctor before trying any natural remedies while breastfeeding.
  1. Adequate rest and extra nourishment in the form of juices, soups, and warming foods may provide some relief from the congestion problem.
  1. Ask your doctor for alternate drugs for your cold and congestion that you can safely use while breastfeeding. Some nasal decongestants like xylometazoline are considered safer than phenylephrine. If you experience fever or pain along with your cold and nasal congestion, you can take additional medicines for quick relief from your symptoms. For instance use of Ibuprofen is considered safe during breastfeeding.

[ Read : Is It Safe To Breastfeed With A Cold ]

If you notice any problems in your child after breastfeeding, immediately inform your doctor about it. Some drugs, even when considered safe, may harm the nursing child [8].

It is not necessary to discontinue breastfeeding your child when you are taking a medicine. Some medicines are perfectly safe to use for nursing mothers. The important thing is to have relevant information at your disposal about the medicine you are using and its potential risks to your nursing child. Therefore, do not hesitate to consult your doctor about any health problem you experience, even if it is a simple nasal congestion.

Medicinal compounds can easily affect the quality and quantity of your breast milk. The risks to your nursing baby may depend on the type of drug used and the state of his health. Therefore, it is extremely important to carefully consider use of any medicine while breastfeeding your child.

Also, refrain from taking any drugs (including OTC medicines) without the consent of your doctor. Monitor your child’s reaction to your breast milk even if you are taking medicines that are safe to use during breastfeeding.

Did you use phenylephrine or any other decongestants while breastfeeding? Did you face any problem with your breast milk production with its use? Please share your experience with our readers regarding phenylephrine and nursing. They would love to hear from you. So, leave a comment in the box below.

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Jessica Albert

Jessica Albert is a passionate writer who seeks to connect with her readers through wit and charm. Her work aims to invoke curiosity and keep the readers engaged through and through. She has prior experience working with magazines and e-commerce establishments as a content marketer and editor. Being a mother herself, she puts all her knowledge into creating content about... more