Breastfeeding: Are antihistamines safe for the nursing mom?

Is it safe to take an antihistamine while breastfeeding?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

Luckily, very few medications are contraindicated for use during lactation, but since most drugs do pass into breast milk, it's wise for you to be cautious.

Generally, the concern with antihistamines and breastfeeding is possible reduction in milk supply, but there does not seem to be any research that supports this claim, only anecdotal reports.

In order to minimize that risk it may be prudent to avoid or minimize exposure to antihistimines in the early postpartum weeks and with mothers who have a compromised milk supply.

If you do notice a decrease in your milk supply from antihistamine use, this need not be permanent. Continue frequent feeds at the breast, drink lots of fluids, and if necessary discontinue or change medications after speaking with your doctor. If the medication has caused a dip in supply you should see an increase soon after discontinuing the medication.

Shorter acting medications are usually preferred for breastfeeding mothers because longer acting ones increase the risk of accumulation in the infant. Because there are so many different ones it would be impossible to comment on them all, but some certainly seem to pose only minimal risks for mom and baby. Additionally medications that are used nasally, rather than taken orally, are transferred even less into the mother's milk and generally pose an even smaller risk.

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