How Long After Nyquil Can I Breastfeed (And Why)?

Exact Answer: at least 2 hours

Once you have a baby, life becomes immensely hectic. As a nursing mother, it is imperative to take care of your health, as a healthy caretaker raises a healthy baby. Cold, coughs, and fevers may disrupt your entire day, so you should try and eliminate them as soon as they arise. Nyquil products, which are used to relieve temporary colds, coughs, headaches, etc. are over the counter (OTC) medicines popular with adults of all age groups. Whilst breastfeeding, you should know which Nyquil products are safe for you and the baby, and which ones may have a negative effect.

How Long After Nyquil Can I Breastfeed?

Type of Nyquil ProductWait time before breastfeeding (in hours)
Liquid Nyquil> 2 -2.5 hours
All other typesnot required

The important thing to know is that Nyquil is not a singular product. It encompasses a range of products with different combinations of acetaminophen, doxylamine, phenylephrine, and dextromethorphan as active ingredients. Nyquil products can be found in the market in different forms: as gel capsules, as liquids, and as caplets. Some of these that you may recognize are Vicks Nyquil Cough Suppressant, Vicks Nyquil Severe Cold and Flu, etc.

The active ingredients as mentioned above are usually safe for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. But you must exercise caution if you are taking the liquid form of Nyquil as they have an extra added ingredient – alcohol. It is only present in a mild quantity but still warrants caution.

Scientists and doctors agree that nursing mothers should avoid all forms of alcohol as it can pass to the baby through breast milk. This may cause side effects and impair your child’s development. Some possible side effects of consuming alcohol through breast milk are changes in its sleeping patterns, hormone issues, rapid weight gain, irritability, etc.

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Therefore, if you plan on feeding your baby and have just consumed alcohol (even the mild amount present in a spoonful of liquid Nyquil) it is advisable to wait at least 2-2.5 hours before doing so. If it is an emergency, consult your medical practitioner before making any decision. Remember, it is your priority to take care of your baby’s health and yourself.

Why Should I Wait That Long After Nyquil To Breastfeed?

The active ingredients present in Nyquil are essential to treat different symptoms of common cold and flu. Acetaminophen fights symptoms like fever, headache, mild pains, sore throat, etc by temporarily modifying our body’s pain reception. It heads to the brain and tinkers with temperature regulation to solve our body’s issue. During breastfeeding, only a minute percentage of this ingredient passes on to the baby. While the consensus is that it is safe for such consumption, in extremely rare cases it may cause a rash on the baby.

Doxylamine attacks runny noses and prevents excessive sneezing. It blocks that substance in our system which is responsible for allergic symptoms (histamine). Doxylamine likely passes on to your infant while feeding. It may cause them to have strange sleeping patterns and excessive irritability/ crying. In the mother, too much of this ingredient may reduce the production of breast milk.

Dextromethorphan in Nyquil fights minor throat irritations and coughs. It directly affects the part of the brain responsible for coughing. There is not much data on its effects on both mother and child, but till now it seems safe to be consumed.

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Phenylephrine removes pressure and congestion in the nose by lowering the swelling of blood vessels in that pathway. This active ingredient likely passes to your child, though no case studies on its effects have been made yet. While it is seemingly a safe part of Nyquil, you should keep track of any problems that may arise due to its consumption.

Conclusion

During lactation, it is never a good idea to consume alcohol, even in small quantities. You should look for alcohol-free liquid Nyquil or the capsule version if you suffer from cold and flu symptoms. If possible, store some breast milk pumped before taking the Nyquil. This way you can altogether eliminate the risk of any active ingredient passing to your baby via that channel.

If you feel there is a change in the amount of breast milk you are producing or a change in your baby’s behavior, consult a doctor immediately. It is always best to err on the side of caution.

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/089033440001600408
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1526952302003240
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