Natural Cold Remedies While Breastfeeding

When you are breastfeeding, any medication that you take has the potential to get into your breast milk and affect your baby. Some medications also might reduce your milk supply. If you catch a cold while breastfeeding, you often can relieve your symptoms without resorting to medication by using safe and effective natural home remedies.

Treat your cold naturally while breastfeeding. (Image: DNF-Style/iStock/Getty Images)

Home Remedies

Although there is no remedy for the common cold, you can alleviate your symptoms with home remedies. Sipping warm liquids, such as tea and chicken broth, can soothe your scratchy throat and loosen congestion. Honey and lemon also can ease a sore throat, as can gargling with salt water. Saline nose sprays can unblock your stuffy nose. Choose one that is only saline, and avoid those containing drugs. Running a humidifier in your bedroom or standing in a steamy bathroom with the shower running can keep your nasal passages and throat moist, reducing soreness.

Things to Avoid

While some people believe that zinc and vitamin C supplements can reduce the duration or symptoms of a cold, there is little to no scientific evidence to back up these claims. Regardless, you should not take any vitamin or supplement in a higher dosage than the recommended daily allowance, especially while you are breastfeeding. Although echinacea might lessen cold symptoms, it may not safe to take while breastfeeding. Over-the-counter decongestants have the potential to dry up your milk supply, so avoid these as well.


Although it might be too late to prevent catching your own cold, by maintaining good hygiene you might be able to prevent your baby from catching a cold. Wash your hands after blowing your nose or touching your face, and before touching your baby. Cover your sneezes and coughs with the crook of your arm or a tissue, and dispose of used tissues right away. You can continue to nurse your baby throughout the duration of your cold, as the antibodies in your milk can help protect him from getting sick.


Remember that herbal remedies have the same potential for over-dosage and affecting your baby as their traditional counterparts. Do not take any vitamins, herbs or homeopathic remedies while breastfeeding without talking to a doctor or lactation consultant. If your symptoms are severe or include a high fever, wheezing or other worrisome symptoms, see your doctor, as you might need treatment. Let him know that you are nursing so he can prescribe something that is safe for nursing mothers, if necessary.

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