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Can I take cough and cold remedies while I'm breastfeeding?

Cough and cold remedies generally aren't recommended while you're breastfeeding.

It's OK to use some cough and cold remedies while you're breastfeeding, but you need to be cautious.

It's fine to use throat lozenges and nasal decongestant sprays. It's also safe to do steam inhalations if you like.

But other cough and cold remedies that you can buy in supermarkets and chemists may not be suitable.

How to treat a cold yourself

Most colds will get better on their own. To help ease symptoms:

  • rest and sleep
  • keep warm
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • gargle salt water to soothe a sore throat

See more advice on colds.

How to treat a cough yourself

Most coughs go away on their own within 3 weeks. In the meantime, you should:

  • rest as much as possible
  • drink plenty of fluids
  • drink hot honey and lemon

See more advice on coughs.

If you want to take a cough or cold remedy

If you do want to take a cough or cold remedy, speak to your pharmacist first. Let them know that you're breastfeeding.

Cough and cold remedies usually contain more than one ingredient. Some of these may not be safe while you're breastfeeding. You need to make sure that each ingredient is safe.

Some cough and cold remedies contain paracetamol, which is safe to take while you're breastfeeding. But if you take these as well as paracetamol tablets or capsules, you may go over the recommended dose. 

Always stick to the recommended dose. Check the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine, or read the information on the packet.

Where to get more advice

  • talk to your midwife, health visitor, pharmacist or GP
  • call 111

 

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