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Allergies and Breastfeeding

When the pollen count is high and your face feels like it is going to explode, being a breastfeeding mom can feel frustrating. Sinus pressure, itchy eyes, and sneezing leave you longing to hand over your license to the pharmacist in exchange for the good stuff behind the counter with the decongestant.

There’s a lot out there about what you can do to ease the symptoms of allergies without using drugs. I’ve always been a fan of drugs, personally. I am not saying that breastfeeding moms should use drugs, but they should know that they can use certain drugs.

The MommyMeds App is published by Thomas Hale, the godfather of Medication and Mother’s Milk research. I recommend providers have the Infant Risk App on their phone, while moms should have MommyMeds. I think these are easiest to use and give the clearest answers on any and every drug in pregnancy and breastfeeding. All the information you see below is from the Infant Risk Database.

Below I’ve provided a list of drugs used for allergies by medication type, but first, a quick overview:

1. Don’t take pseudophed. The good stuff behind the counter can really dry you up—both your sinuses and your milk supply. Even the heartiest milk supply can take a hard hit. Keep in mind that psuedophed is safe for breastfeeding babies, but risky for your supply.

2. Proceed with caution with Benedryl and other antihistamines. It isn’t as likely to decrease your milk supply, but it is possible. Antihistamines are safe for breastfeeding babies, but are a slight risk to a milk supply.

Below is a list of the most common allergy medications with their lactation rating. Check out this blog to learn more about lactation ratings.

The Oral Antihistamines:

Loratadine L1
-Claritin, Alavert

Fexofenadine L2
– Allegra

Dyphenhydramine L2

Cetrizine L2

The Inhaled Steroids:

Oxymetazoline L3
– Afrin, Vicks Sinex, Nasocon

Mometasone L3
-Elocon, Nasonex

Flucticasone L3
– Flonase

The Ophthalmic Antihistamines:

Levocabastine L3

Naphazoline L3

Tetrahydrozoline L3
– Visine

The Cough Suppressant:

Dextromethorphan L1
– Robitussin

The Expectorant:

Guaifenesin L3

The Decongestants: (Remember: They dry you up, but they might dry you up!)

Pseudophed L3

Phenylephrine L3

By using this guide and the MommyMeds app, you can be sure to find some relief during this allergy season while protecting your ability to continue breastfeeding.