Which over-the-counter (OTC) medications are safe to use while breastfeeding?

  • We prefer that you first try non-medication remedies.
  • Limit the use of any medications to only what is necessary.
  • Medications that are listed as safe below are safe only for short-term use (less than 1-2 weeks unless otherwise indicated).
  • Medications that are safe during pregnancy are not necessarily safe while breastfeeding.
  • If you are in doubt about the safety of a medication, it is always wise to consult a health care professional.
ProblemSafe OTC MedicationsAvoidSafe non-medication remedies to try
Headache; backache Tylenol (acetaminophen)

Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen)
  • Aspirin
  • Chiropractic
  • Warm or cool compresses
  • Stress reduction
  • Heating pad
  • Hot bath
  • Massage
Upper respiratory infection Homeopathic remedy:
Oscillococciunum-take at the first sign of any cold or flu symptoms; OTC potency is 6x-30C; take 3 doses in the first 24 hours; 10-15 granules is a dose

Coughs:
Mucinex/Robitussin (guaifenesin) or dextromethorphan

Congestion:
Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)

Cough:
Sore throat sprays and lozenges containing camphor or menthol
  • Nasal sprays such as Afrin (contains oxymetazoline)
  • Limit use of combination products (treat only the symptoms you have)
  • Avoid products that contain more than 20% alcohol
  • Saline nasal spray
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Use a vaporizer
  • Rest