Health Question

Can I take cough and cold remedies while I'm 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.

It's also fine to use some decongestant nose sprays, but always check with a pharmacist or GP first before using a spray.

But other cough and cold remedies you can buy in a pharmacy or supermarket 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 saltwater to soothe a sore throat

Get 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

Get 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 a pharmacist first. Let them know you're breastfeeding.

Cough and cold remedies usually contain more than 1 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, a pharmacist or a GP
  • call 111

Further information