When can I breastfeed after taking benadryl?

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is considered compatible with breastfeeding by many healthcare professionals.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) is an antihistamine that can relieve allergy symptoms. It is usually safe to take occasionally, but larger doses can cause side effects in a breastfed child and decrease milk supply.

It is recommended to avoid first generation antihistamines like Benadryl and instead opt for a non-sedating alternative, such as Claritin (loratadine). It shows very low concentration in breast milk and doesn’t sedate infants.

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guidelines to understand benadryl in breastfeed babies

Allergies

The allergy medication Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can pass into breast milk and affect a breastfeeding baby. It also may make the mother drowsy and can reduce her supply of milk. It is generally not recommended to take allergy medications while breastfeeding. Instead, many healthcare professionals recommend avoiding allergens that cause symptoms like runny nose, sneezing and itchy, watery eyes. If medications are needed, experts typically recommend that mothers seek alternative drugs that are rated L1 or less on the label and that don’t contain sedatives.

Claritin (loratadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine) are considered safe second-generation antihistamines that have been shown to be minimally excreted into breastmilk. These antihistamines don’t have the drowsy side effects of first-generation antihistamines such as Benadryl and are more effective. The different drugs peak in the body at slightly different times, so it is best to consult with a doctor about the optimal time of day to take them while breastfeeding.

For headaches or body aches, Tylenol (acetaminophen) is considered safe for both the mother and the baby. It is metabolized quickly in the body and cleared out of the system. For more severe pain and swelling, Motrin (ibuprofen) is another safe option. For nasal drainage, a saline rinse or the nasal spray Flonase can provide relief. Eye drops can also help relieve itchy, watery eyes.

Cold or flu

If you’re nursing and have a cold or the flu, rest up. Your baby’s needs are more important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself with medications like antibiotics and cough syrup. However, many OTC cold and allergy medicines contain ingredients that aren’t safe for breastfeeding moms, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine). These drugs decrease milk supply. Also, certain antihistamines, like Benadryl, can pass into breastmilk and cause drowsiness in your baby.

Instead, try single-symptom medicines that are safe for your baby, such as a nasal spray for congestion, or medicine for sinus pressure and pain that contains acetaminophen. If you have the flu, talk to your doctor about taking oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza). These antiviral drugs work early on and are safe for breastfeeding mothers.

Avoid extra-strength formulas and “sustained-release” or “extended-release” medications, which stay in your system longer and may cause drug interactions in babies. And always check with your doctor or lactation specialist before taking any medication, especially herbal medications and high-dose vitamins and supplements. Different drugs peak in your body at different times, and you want to be sure the medicine you’re taking is out of your system before breastfeeding. Also, if you need to take an antihistamine, look for a brand that does not have a sedative, such as loratadine (Claritin) or cetirizine (Zyrtec). The best option, though, is natural methods to help with allergies and the common cold: Drink lots of fluids, run a humidifier and use a steamer, and take in extra vitamin C from foods, juices and supplements.

Sedatives

If you’re taking any sedative medications, including Benadryl, while breastfeeding, it may cause side effects in your baby. Sedatives can affect how well a newborn sleeps, making it harder for them to stay asleep during the night. They can also decrease milk production and affect your baby’s mood and behavior.

Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that’s passed into breast milk in small amounts, according to studies. But it’s not a good idea to take it if you’re just starting to nurse, because it can affect how much milk you make. It can also be absorbed through the skin and stomach, which could make its way into your infant’s system.

Many other allergy medicines are safe for breastfeeding moms, especially if they’re not sedatives. Claritin, for example, has been studied and is shown to pass only marginally into breast milk. However, it does contain pseudoephedrine, which can reduce milk supply in some babies.

Other drugs that are safe in small doses include oxycodone (a painkiller) and antibiotics such as azithromycin or zithromax. But you should avoid tetracyclines because they can inhibit bone growth and cause dental staining in newborns.

It’s important to remember that every nursing journey is different, and there aren’t any absolute rules about what you can or can’t take while breastfeeding. So talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you’re taking, especially if you’re thinking of adding a new medication to your regimen.

Other medications

The older first generation antihistamines (like Benadryl) can decrease a breastfeed baby’s milk supply. However, a single occasional dose should not cause any significant problems for an infant, particularly if it is taken before bedtime and after the last breastfeeding session of the day.

Other antihistamines, including over-the-counter drugs like Claritin and Zyrtec, are generally considered safe at their recommended doses while breastfeeding. The loratadine in these medications passes into breast milk at low concentrations and does not have the sedative effects of first generation antihistamines. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics lists allergy shots as being generally compatible with breastfeeding.

It’s important to talk with your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the use of medication while breastfeeding. Medications, even those deemed safe, can affect each child differently, so it’s essential that you discuss the benefits and risks of any medication with your healthcare professional.

Although breastfeeding can sometimes be uncomfortable, it is a very healthy way to feed your baby and provides lots of bonding and emotional closeness for both mom and baby. However, if you are not getting enough milk or your baby has any drug-related side effects, your healthcare professional may recommend formula feeding or discontinuing the medication. Sophia Williams is a lifestyle blogger dedicated to sharing life tips and experiences to help readers lead happier, more fulfilling lives. She is currently working on her first book.

Conclusion

The timing for breastfeeding after taking Benadryl (diphenhydramine) can vary depending on factors like the dosage you took and how your body metabolizes the medication.In summary, while it’s generally safe to breastfeed after taking a standard dose of Benadryl, it’s crucial to be cautious and consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you’ve taken higher doses or have specific medical concerns. They can provide you with tailored guidance based on your individual circumstances.

How long should I wait to breastfeed after taking Benadryl?

You should generally wait about 4-6 hours after taking a standard, over-the-counter dose of Benadryl (25 mg) before breastfeeding. However, the timing may vary based on factors such as your individual metabolism and the dosage taken.

Can I breastfeed after taking Benadryl at night to help me sleep?

If you take Benadryl at night to aid with sleep, you should aim to breastfeed when you wake up in the morning, which should give enough time for the medication to clear from your system.

Is it safe to breastfeed after taking Benadryl during the day for allergies or itching?

If you take Benadryl during the day for allergy or itching relief, it’s generally safe to breastfeed after waiting for about 4-6 hours. Be cautious and monitor your baby for any unusual reactions.

Can I take Benadryl while breastfeeding?

Taking Benadryl while breastfeeding is generally considered safe if you follow the recommended dosage and timing guidelines. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice, especially if you have any concerns.

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