iVillage Member
Registered: 11-10-2005
Fri, 02-22-2013 - 1:35pm

I just recently read that menthol use while breastfeeding can reduce your supply...I read it in regards to cough drops, so I stopped using them (I was sick with a cold). Now I am realizing that many chap sticks (like softlips and carmex) and even my Mary Kay satin hands kit al have menthol...will the topical use of menthol be an issue? I don't want to do anything to risk my supply, it's not worth it and my baby is only 5 weeks old. Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-21-2009
In reply to: spinachbrit
Fri, 02-22-2013 - 2:10pm

How wonderful that you are breastfeeding your LO through your cold. Your baby will receive specific antibodies to help protect him from the virus that is making you sick.

There are some reports of menthol and peppermint reducing milk supply, however as far as I know there is no research that shows this connection. I would think that it would take a strong concentration of either to affect supply if it actually does impact supply. I doubt the small exposure you might get from a menthol lip balm would do anything. In order for an agent to impact supply it would likely need to get into your blood in order to get into the area of the breast that is producing milk. Menthol in lip balm isn’t likely to reach the blood in large enough amounts to make a difference.

Some cold medications are concerning when it comes to milk supply. Anything that lists “pseudophed” as an ingredient may lower supply as much as 25 to 30% and should probably be avoided when breastfeeding.

If you are concerned about the impact of menthol and peppermint on milk supply, it’s easy enough to avoid products with those ingredients.

I think there are many myths about milk supply b/c moms worry so much about their supply. I think moms worry so much about supply b/c the formula companies have done a great job of undermining women’s confidence about their ability to produce enough milk. It’s actually pretty rare not to produce enough milk but it’s very common for mothers to worry about their milk supply. For any lurkers here’s how to judge milk supply:

Is my baby getting enough milk?,,8rr83zjm,00.html


Kathy Kuhn IBCLC

iVillage lactation consultant

and Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas and Charlotte    

Kathy Kuhn IBCLC ivillage lactation consultant Grammy to Brennan, Elias, Elianna, Tahlia, Makenna, Maura, Silas, and Charlotte