How long after taking unisom can I breastfeed?

Many new mothers struggle with sleep deprivation in the early stages of breastfeeding. Insomnia is a common complaint, and some women choose to take over-the-counter sleep aids such as Unisom.

It is important to understand the safety of this medication while breastfeeding. The active ingredient, doxylamine succinate, can pass into breast milk and may cause drowsiness in the baby.


What is Unisom?

Unisom is a popular OTC sleep aid that contains the active ingredient doxylamine succinate. Doxylamine is an antihistamine that works by blocking the actions of histamines in your body, which can cause you to feel drowsy. It also has a sedative effect that can help you fall asleep and stay asleep during the night.

The good news is that doxylamine is not considered to be harmful for pregnant women, says Sarah Bernstein, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital. However, she recommends using it only if simple lifestyle changes aren’t helping you get enough Zzzs. These include avoiding caffeine, eating a light meal before bed, and sleeping in a cool, dark room.

You should also avoid consuming alcohol or taking other medications that can heighten the drowsy effects of Unisom, like sedatives and tranquilizers unless told otherwise by your doctor. You should also talk to your doctor before taking Unisom if you have a condition like asthma, glaucoma, emphysema, heart problems, or high blood pressure, or if you’re breastfeeding.

If you take Unisom regularly for sleep problems, it’s important to limit your use, since it can lead to tolerance, explains Berg. If you find that it isn’t working for you, ask your doctor about upgrading to a stronger antihistamine such as Benadryl. The drowsiness you feel from the latter will be more potent and last longer than the doxylamine in Unisom, she adds.

Can I take Unisom while pregnant?

Many obstetricians and gynecologists consider Unisom safe for short-term use during pregnancy, especially to manage morning sickness. The FDA categorizes Unisom as a Category A medication, meaning it has a low risk of causing harm to the fetus. However, each woman’s pregnancy and medical history is unique. Therefore, it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before using Unisom or any other medication during pregnancy.

Unisom does contain ingredients that may have sedative effects. As a result, it is important to limit its use to the recommended dosage and not take more than one tablet per day. Women who are breastfeeding should also avoid taking Unisom while driving or operating machinery.

Despite its potential side effects, many breastfeeding mothers find that Unisom helps them get more restful sleep during the night. As a result, they are better able to balance their sleep needs and infant care responsibilities. Ultimately, the health and well-being of both mother and baby is the most important consideration when deciding whether to use Unisom or other sleep aids.

Those who are not comfortable with using Unisom can try other natural methods to improve their quality of sleep. These include dietary changes, staying hydrated, and practicing relaxation techniques. In addition, some pregnant women find relief from morning sickness by taking ginger or vitamin B6 supplements.

Can I take Unisom while breastfeeding?

The safety of taking Unisom while breastfeeding is largely undetermined, as the specific medication’s risks and benefits are not well understood. The sedative ingredients in Unisom can pass into breast milk and cause drowsiness or excessive sleepiness in infants, and may also impact breastfeeding patterns and milk supply. Additionally, there are concerns that the use of medications like Unisom may interfere with natural sleep patterns in new mothers, and can lead to fatigue, irritability, and impaired performance.

In general, the safest option is to not take sleep aids while breastfeeding. Instead, try to balance your sleep needs with your infant care responsibilities, and prioritize getting enough rest. Other helpful tips include establishing a consistent sleep routine, practicing relaxation techniques, and optimizing your sleep environment.

Ultimately, the decision to take Unisom or any other sleep aid while breastfeeding should be made in consultation with healthcare professionals. By carefully weighing the risks and benefits, healthcare professionals can provide personalized guidance that considers your individual circumstances and health goals. This approach can help you explore non-pharmacological options for improving your sleep, including adjusting your schedule, implementing alternative strategies for sleep, and prioritizing open communication with your healthcare team.

What are the risks of taking Unisom while breastfeeding?

Many breastfeeding parents are sleep-deprived, and the use of Unisom is an easy solution for new moms who are struggling to get enough rest. However, a mother’s decision to take any medication, including Unisom, should be made carefully after consulting with healthcare professionals such as doctors or lactation consultants. These professionals can provide personalized guidance based on individual circumstances, medical history, and the medication being taken.

One of the main concerns with the use of any medication during breastfeeding is its potential to pass through breast milk to infants. Unisom, which contains the active ingredient doxylamine succinate, is known to pass into breast milk in small amounts and can cause drowsiness and sedation in infants. This can interfere with their normal development, and may even lead to feeding difficulties. In extreme cases, the use of doxylamine in newborns can lead to respiratory problems and seizures.

Other sleep aids are safer for nursing mothers, such as magnesium oxide and dextromethorphan. In addition, new mothers should avoid taking first-generation allergy medications such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Allegra) while breastfeeding. These medications can increase the risk of side effects in infants, such as drowsiness, sedation, dry mouth, and constipation. In addition, they can reduce the amount of breastmilk produced.


I am not a medical professional, but I can offer some general information on this topic. Unisom is an over-the-counter sleep aid that often contains the active ingredient doxylamine succinate.In conclusion, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider or a lactation consultant for specific guidance on when it is safe to breastfeed after taking Unisom. They can provide you with tailored advice based on your individual situation to ensure the safety of both you and your baby.

How long does Unisom stay in your system?

Unisom often contains doxylamine succinate, which has a half-life of approximately 10 hours. This means it takes about 10 hours for half of the drug to be eliminated from your system. It may take several half-lives for the drug to be mostly cleared from your body.

Is it safe to breastfeed after taking Unisom?

The safety of breastfeeding after taking Unisom depends on various factors, including the dosage, the specific formulation, and your individual metabolism. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider or a lactation consultant for personalized advice.

Can I pump and store breast milk after taking Unisom?

Yes, you can consider pumping and storing breast milk before taking Unisom. This way, you can feed your baby expressed milk while the medication is in your system. Once you feel the effects of the drug have worn off, you can resume breastfeeding.

When is it safe to breastfeed after taking Unisom?

The timing for safe breastfeeding after taking Unisom can vary. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider who can consider your specific circumstances and provide guidance on when it’s safe to breastfeed again.

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