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Can You Take Sudafed While Breastfeeding?

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Sudafed While Breastfeeding

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Suffering from breathlessness because of a congested nose? Do not jump to the conclusion that it’s okay to take Sudafed without medical advice, especially when you are breastfeeding. This oral decongestant contains the drug pseudoephedrine which treats the common cold, pressure caused by allergies, congestion, and nasal stuffiness. It works by shrinking the nasal blood vessels and sinuses.

But can you take Sudafed while breastfeeding? Does it affect your baby in any way? Let’s find answers to these questions from the blog below. Read on and know more about what is Sudafed, whether is Sudafed safe while breastfeeding, its side effects, and more (all backed by medical advisories and journals).

What is Sudafed?

Sudafed is a drug (liquid or tablet) containing the decongestant pseudoephedrine that narrows your nasal blood vessels to decrease the feeling of pressure. It is not a drug to cure any underlying conditions that cause nasal pressure (like allergies or viruses) but simply a means to offer relief from the conditions’ symptoms. The minimum adult dosage of Sudafed is 60 mg 3 to 4 times a day while the maximum that one can go is 120 mg every 12 hours.

Can You Take Sudafed While Breastfeeding?

If you are a breastfeeding mum remember that Sudafed passes on to your breastmilk. Even though it’s deemed safe by the American Academy of Paediatrics, some reports claim that it makes infants irritable and lethargic. Additionally, there is another study that indicated that after 24 hours of taking Sudafed, your milk supply decreases by 24%. So keep an eye out for how much milk your body is producing. Typically, you can figure this out by looking for signs or symptoms of dehydration, weight loss, or a low bowel movement in your baby.

You should discuss what medications should not be taken with Sudafed with your doctor. Children under the age of four are restricted from taking this drug whereas, older kids can take this medication only after proper consultation with their pediatrician.

Apart from pseudoephedrine, Sudafed also contains naproxen sodium (used to treat fevers and relieve pain). Is it safe? Usually, naproxen is avoided during pregnancy but if the risks are lesser than its benefits, it is medically administered. But taking medications while you are breastfeeding is not an advisable option. So we have brought to you some alternatives you can try instead of medicines like Sudafed. Here you go:

Alternatives of Sudafed While Breastfeeding

Using nasal sprays for nasal rinses is a better option than oral decongestants because they don’t go directly inside your body. Here are some examples:

  • Oxymetazoline nasal spray available as Zicam Intense Sinus relief, Afrin, or other drugs
  • Phenylephrine nasal sprays or drops are available under the brand name Neo-Synephrine or as generic drugs

Several at-home remedies relieve nasal congestion but if you think you need medications then get them only after a medical consultation. Want to know what those magical home remedies are? Read on!

  • A humidifier can help you decongest your nasal cavities.
  • Taking a shower will also do the same job.
  • Saline sprays are another solution to decongest that simply empties the nasal fluids. These OTC sprays also decrease pressure inside your nose.
  • Nasal congestion can worsen at night so you can try adhesive nasal strips to open your nasal passages.

Side Effects of Sudafed While Breastfeeding

But why should you consider alternatives to Sudafed if major health advisors are not against it? Because they are just general notions but if you are a sensitive person Sudafed can have a few side effects such as

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Restlessness or anxiety
  • Stomach ache

These symptoms may be eased with a few home remedies but there are rare and serious side effects of Sudafed too such as

  • Stroke or heart attack
  • Heart issues such as irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and chest pain
  • Hallucinations or psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Rashes

The Bottom Line: When to Talk to Your Doctor About Sudafed While Breastfeeding?

You must consider all the factors such as risk to your child and yourself before considering Sudafed. Get the drug only if no home remedies cure your nasal congestion. If you are a breastfeeding mama you need to be extra careful because you could pass it on to your child through breastmilk. Anyway, breastfeeding or not, only a doctor should prescribe you the drug. But what should you ask the doctor while consulting? First, tell them your medical history and then ask them these questions:

  • Can I take Sudafed while breastfeeding?
  • Is there anything else I can do to relieve my congestion?
  • What type of medicine should I use based on my symptoms?
  • Are there any non-drug options for relieving my congestion?

Sudafed While Breastfeeding: Alternatives, Side Effects, and More! FAQs:

1. Why does Sudafed decrease milk supply?

Pseudoephedrine is a drug present in Sudafed which alters the production of milk. Certain sympathomimetics (a sympathetic nerve stimulation caused by nasal decongestants) decrease the secretion of prolactin due to the direct action of dopamine D2 receptors in the pituitary gland. So, yes if you take Sudafed while breastfeeding, your milk production will decrease.

2. How long does it take Sudafed to dry up the milk supply?

Worried about how much milk supply will decrease because of taking Sudafed while breastfeeding? Evidence from the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology states that if you take 60 mg of Sudafed it will decrease your milk supply by 24% in 24 hours.

3. How can you tell if your breastmilk is drying up?

If you are taking Sudafed while breastfeeding you have to be vigilant about your milk supply decreasing. But what signs should you look out for? Check the following symptoms in your baby to make sure your breastmilk supply is on track:
  • Signs of dehydration in your baby: no urine for hours, low energy levels, excessive sleepiness, a sunken soft spot on their head, no tears while crying
  • Lack of weight gain or too much of it after 2 weeks of birth
  • Not enough dirty or wet diapers each day: less than 6 to 8 diapers every day.
  • 4. How quickly does Sudafed work?

    Sudafed works its magic within 15 to 30 minutes after intake. 30 to 60 minutes later your nasal congestion will ease and you will feel a lot better. But how long can you take Sudafed while breastfeeding? Pseudoephedrine usually can be taken up to a week for short-term relief from a blocked or stuffy nose.

    5. Is taking Sudafed while breastfeeding medically safe?

    The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) recommend using pseudoephedrine (a drug contained in Sudafed) during pregnancy. But they are against the use of oral decongestants in the 1st trimester. During those first months, oral decongestants could increase the risk of abdominal wall defects (gastroschisis).


    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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