Pregnancy and nursing not only bring about a lot of physical and mental changes in you; it also brings about a massive change in your daily routine.
You can no longer continue to eat and drink like before. Theres a lot of foods to avoid when breastfeeding. You should also stop consuming over the counter medicines that you normally take for allergies, common cold, flu, fever, etc.
Benadryl while breastfeeding? One of the common medicines that we all consume for symptoms related to common cold and allergies is Benadryl. While it is considered to be one of the safest medicines for everybody else, nursing mothers should be careful while using it.
What is Benadryl?
Benadryl contains diphenhydramine, which is an antihistamine. Histamines are substances that cause allergic reactions, running nose and other symptoms related to cold. Antihistamines are the elements that block these, thereby controlling your allergies, rashes and common cold symptoms.
What is the first reaction that you experience when you take Benadryl in any form (capsules, liquid, gel, etc.)? Drowsiness, of course! It is this factor which affects babies to a great extent.
Does your baby get affected when you drink Benadryl?
The immune system of newborns is not fully developed; therefore, they are very sensitive to most of the medicines even with the great benefits of breastfeeding. Their system doesn’t accept the antihistamine component found in Benadryl as easily as you would like it.
When you have Benadryl and nurse your baby immediately after that, traces of this ingredient passes on to the baby through your milk. When your baby is unusually sleepy, irritable or experiencing severe mood swings immediately after a feeding session, it should ring alarm bells in your mind.
Why are babies sensitive to Benadryl?
Benadryl is one of the first remedies that were created to cure symptoms related to common cold and allergies. The antihistamine in it, diphenhydramine is considered to be a first-generation ingredient.
What does this mean to you? It means that this ingredient is not of the developed ones that have been created to reduce as many side effects as possible.
While being a first-generation antihistamine can prove beneficial for Benadryl in curing related ailments quickly, it comes as a curse for breastfeeding mothers. Babies are very sensitive to this, and they contract side effects almost immediately after drinking milk that contains traces of Benadryl.
What can you do?
All babies do not show signs of irritability or drowsiness if they consume Benadryl through their mothers’ milk. However, it still makes sense to talk to your doctor when you have a common cold and get his expert opinion on the same.
Most of the doctors prescribe suitable second-generation, developed antihistamines like cetirizine or loratadine instead of diphenhydramine. These are designed to counter-attack the side effects, and they don’t pass into the mother’s milk easily. You can find these ingredients in medicines like Zyrtec, Claritin, Allegra, etc.
However, if you must take Benadryl, you need to ensure that you consume it before bedtime after you have nursed your baby. This will give you ample time throughout the night to rest and for the antihistamine ingredients to clear off from your body.
Benadryl doesn’t reduce milk supply at any cost. You might feel drowsy and dehydrated after consuming the medicine, which can impact your baby. You should always resort to natural remedies to get relief from common cold and allergies, especially if you are nursing.