So you have a cold, what can you do to manage symptoms besides reaching for medication? ⠀
Many breastfeeding and pumping parents don’t want to take any OTC cold medications and ask what they can do instead. ⠀
So here are some ideas!
1. Rest - Get plenty of sleep! Give your body a break and time to heal. Try nursing your baby in bed while you rest (side-lying position works well for this). I know this can be difficult if you have a newborn but make this a priority (the laundry and dishes can wait).⠀
2. Water - Drink plenty of clear fluids to prevent dehydration. This also helps with congestion and thinning out mucus. Our body is about 60% water and is vital for all its functions. Staying hydrated is also important when making breast milk.
3. Garlic - Garlic has immune boosting properties. Raw is best (I know, this isn’t pleasant.) Or cook with it for added antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
4. Honey - Helps coat the throat and ease coughs and irritation. Take a spoonful or add it to warm water or tea.
5. Salt - If you have a sore or irritated throat you can use salt to gargle to help ease pain, kill bacteria, and loosen mucus. Also, saline sprays or rinses can help with nasal congestion.
6. Steam - Use a humidifier at night or get in a hot steamy shower to help with congestion or cough.
7. Tea or warm broths - Helps soothe the throat and loosen mucus. Avoid herbal teas that may not be breastfeeding compatible.
8. Vitamin C - Eat vitamin C rich foods, such as oranges, kiwi or add lemon to your tea. High supplemented doses may be ok short term, as research has shown it only slightly increases vitamin C levels in breastmilk.
If these remedies aren’t enough and you need some further relief, there are some OTC meds that are compatible with breastfeeding. In general, it’s best to avoid anything that works as a decongestant as it may cause a reduction in your milk supply. If you are unsure, it’s always best to check with an IBCLC or a reputable site like Infant Risk Center.
Remember, the best thing to do for your baby when you are sick is to keep providing them with your breast milk. You cannot pass your cold to your baby through your breast milk, but you will pass them valuable antibodies to protect them from getting sick. If you notice your supply drop during your illness this is normal and temporary. Remember to keep breastfeeding or pumping frequently to keep up your supply as much as possible.