Breastfeeding: Suffering from pollen allergies
I am breastfeeding my eight-month-old daughter but am suffering terribly from pollen allergies.I know that antihistamines can cause milk to decrease, but my symptoms are so bad I am considering taking them for the next two weeks (the worst time of year for me). Is this decrease permanent, or will my milk build up again when antihistamines are stopped? If I take the tablets and continue to breastfeed, will the baby be adversely affected? If I pump to keep up my milk supply for a couple of weeks, but not feed the milk to the baby, will she have weaned herself by the end of two weeks?Question:
Not to worry there are allergy medications that can be used, especially when taken only for a short period of time, while nursing your baby (speak with your doctor). Antihistamines can cause a decrease in your milk supply, though this is not something you see in every case, and it should not be permanent. Many of the newer prescription antihistamines are long-acting, and in general, long-acting drugs are not the best choice for nursing moms.
The potential problem with these is the chance for accumulation in your baby's system. If you need to take an antihistamine, speak with your doctor about short acting alternatives, such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Benadryl is thought to be secreted in small amounts into breast milk, and peaks in your milk at about two to three hours after dosing. By waiting another hour or so to nurse you would lessen your baby's exposure to the medication. Watch for drowsiness in your child.
Systemic medications like antihistamines are not the only choice if you are suffering from nasal allergies. Corticosteroid nasal spray, such as beclomethasone, have become a popular medication for seasonal allergies. They are very effective in controlling allergy symptoms, are given in very small doses, and have the advantage of not being well absorbed into your system so they're unlikely to affect a nursing baby.
Most medications are not contraindicated during lactation. Weaning your baby for 2 weeks from your breast, even while expressing your milk, can result in a reduced milk supply and may very well result in your baby weaning from the breast. It is important that you discuss this information with your doctor, looking at possible risks of the short-term medication, compared with the benefits of continued breastfeeding, and decide what will work best for your particular situation.
Do all you can to control your environment, during the pollen season, keep your windows closed, and use air conditioning in your home to reduce the humidity, dust mites, and pollen levels. The most important room to allergy-proof is your bedroom, because of the amount of time you spend there each day. An air filter can be very helpful, but only if you keep the windows closed. Especially during peak allergy times, you should not allow your pets in your bedroom.
Remember that the afternoon is the time of highest pollen counts. Try to avoid spending a lot of time outside at that time. If you can swing it, take a shower and wash your hair after being out, especially before going to bed, to remove the pollen. Dry your clothes in the dryer, rather than hanging them outside to dry during allergy season.Answer: