Can You Take Nyquil While Breastfeeding

Can you take nyquil while breastfeeding?

It can be difficult to breastfeed while you suffering from a cold, and at the same time scary because you wouldn’t want to pass on the symptoms to your baby. In your fix, you might decide to get some over-the-counter (OTC) medicine such as Nyquil. Nyquil is one of the very known OTC cold and flu medicine.

However, you must know that not all OTC medicines are safe for breastfeeding mothers as they may contain ingredients that can be dangerous to your baby.

There are several Nyquil verities on the market such as Nyquil Cold & Flu, Nyquil Severe Cold & Flu, and Nyquil Cough Suppressant and although they’re effective cold and flu remedies, the question remains can you take Nyquil while breastfeeding? Is it safe? Let’s find out in this article. 

Uses of Nyquil

There’s no cure for a cold, but with Nyquil, you can manage the symptoms that follow.

Nyquil is a combination of different active ingredients that’s used as a night time treatment for symptoms of cold and flu such as runny nose, cough, sore throat, headache, fever, nasal congestion, sneezing, and minor aches and pains. It also causes relief for symptoms of allergies such as watery eyes and skin irritations.

Nyquil Ingredients

Most Nyquil products are made of these three active ingredients:

  • Acetaminophen
  • Dextromethorphan
  • Doxylamine

While in others such as the Nyquil Severe, you’ll also find the active ingredient Phenylephrine HCl.

How It Works

Each of the active ingredients in Nyquil plays a role in contributing to the effectiveness of the drug. 

For instance, Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever suppressant, you’ll find it in many OTC painkillers. It works by blocking the production of certain chemicals in the brain that is responsible for making you feel pain and causing you fever.

Dextromethorphan on the other hand is a cough suppressant, and it works by calming the part of your brain that stimulates cough, thereby making you cough less.

Doxylamine is an antihistamine, hence working against the production of histamine. Histamine is a neurotransmitter produced naturally in the body and is responsible for the allergies you have when you come in contact with an allergen. By blocking histamine, doxylamine help reduces symptoms such as sneezing.

Can You Take Nyquil While Breastfeeding
Can You Take Nyquil While Breastfeeding?

Can You Take Nyquil While Breastfeeding?

Firstly, you should know that all active ingredients in Nyquil are very likely to get into your breastmilk, although in little amounts, because; the breast is a better filter compared to the placenta during pregnancy.

However, this becomes a problem if those ingredients react badly to your baby, thereby causing adverse effects, therefore, speak with your doctor or pharmacist first before you take Nyquil while breastfeeding. Meanwhile, let’s look at the various active ingredients and know how much gets into the breastmilk, what effect they may have on your baby, and if you can take Nyquil while breastfeeding.

Acetaminophen: Only a tiny amount of acetaminophen enters the breastmilk, and it’ll have little or no effect on your baby. For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) approved it as a safe drug that can be taken while breastfeeding.

Your baby may develop a rash while you’re taking Nyquil and breastfeeding, but this is nothing to be bothered about as it can clear up a week later or when you stop using Nyquil, but if it begins to get worse, speak to your doctor immediately.

Dextromethorphan: This drug also passes into the breastmilk in a minute amount, and although not much has been done to know what effect it can have on babies, existing studies show that it might be safe for babies who are over 2 months.

Doxylamine: Just as we’ve said, doxylamine blocks the production of histamine, in doing that, it may also block the production of breastmilk, thereby making it insufficient for babies, however, this mostly results when you take much of it.

Some research has shown that doxylamine has no effect on babies, but when taken in high doses, you may notice some side effects such as drowsiness and unusual sleeping pattern in your baby, as doxylamine is what causes that effect when you take Nyquil.

Phenylephrine: Although this ingredient is only found in Nyquil, you should also know that it can pass into the breastmilk, but will not affect your baby so long as it’s taken in lower doses. The National Institute of Health recommends taking only about 40% of the drug because then your baby will only be able to absorb an insignificant amount of the drug.

Also, if taken in higher dosage, phenylephrine can cause a decrease in breastmilk production since it’s a decongestant, meaning that it dries up mucus, so while taking Nyquil Severe, make sure to take a lot of water to boost your milk production.

As it seems, the active ingredients in Nyquil have little or no effect on breastfed babies so you can take Nyquil while breastfeeding. Regardless, let your doctor know before you begin treatment with it, because only then will you know the right dosage that will not be too much.

Effects of Taking Nyquil While Breastfeeding

Aside from the listed active ingredient, a lot of Nyquil products also contain alcohol, and it’s no secret that alcohol should be put off for breastfeeding mothers as it can easily pass into breastmilk, unlike other ingredients.

The alcohol in Nyquil is supposed to help the drug dissolve into liquid when taken in, however, when it crosses into your breastmilk, it can have certain effects on your baby,

Such as:

  • A drastic increase in weight
  • Hormonal problems
  • Change in sleep pattern
  • Constant irritability 

Although the amount of alcohol in Nyquil may be little, there’s no safe amount when it comes to breastfeeding a child, this is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges breastfeeding mothers to stay clear of alcohol during the period.

You’ll mostly find alcohol in liquid forms of Nyquil but always check for the content in any Nyquil product you want to take especially while breastfeeding.

Apart from the effect of Nyquil based on its alcohol content, the drug can also affect your baby if:

  • They’re allergic to acetaminophen or antihistamines
  • They have a liver, kidney, or heart problem
  • They’re less than 2 months old, as they tend to be more sensitive to the presence of drugs in the breastmilk when they’re so young.

These are more reasons why you need to first contact your doctor before you take Nyquil while breastfeeding.

How Long Should I Wait Before Breastfeeding After Taking Nyquil?

If you’ve spoken with your doctor, they may have approved that you can take Nyquil while breastfeeding, but to wait some time after taking the drug before you breastfeed, especially if you’re taking an alcohol-containing Nyquil product.

The reason for this is to reduce any possible risk the drug can have on your baby, giving the drug time to probably wear off. Therefore, if you’re taking Nyquil while breastfeeding, it’s recommended that you wait at least 2-3 hours after you’ve taken the drug before breastfeeding, or you can wait after breastfeeding to take the drug.

What Cold Medicine Can I Take While Breastfeeding?

There are so many alternatives to Nyquil if you’re looking at using drugs to treat cold symptoms, and the good thing is they’re approved by doctors as safe options for breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

Some cold medicines approved by the AAP and CDC that you can take while breastfeeding include:

How to Survive a Cold While Breastfeeding Without Nyquil?

Drugs are not your only option if you want relief from your symptoms.

There are natural home remedies that can be helpful:

  1. Stay Hydrated: This is a key step in fighting cold symptoms, as increased fluid intake can help reduce congestion and mucus buildup. You can stay hydrated by drinking just plain water or you can spice things up by also taking warm broth, juice, decaffeinated tea, or water with lemon or honey.
  2. Gargle With Salt Water: Mix a quarter to a half teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and gargle. This helps to relieve sore throat.
  3. Get A Lot Of Rest: The importance of rest can’t be overestimated. You need plenty of rest, especially when you’re sick, to help boost your immune system to fight bacteria and help you recover quickly. To reduce your level of activity and take better care of your health.
  4. Use Herbs Or Supplements: So many herbs such as thyme, basil, ginger, rosemary, and astragalus are effective in fighting cold and flu. You can either boil them and drink as tea or incorporate them into your meals.

Also, supplements like vitamin C and Zinc may help speed up your recovery.


Can you take Nyquil while breastfeeding? Yes, you can. However, always check to make sure that the Nyquil product you take doesn’t contain alcohol, and always seek your doctor’s consent first, because while it might be safe, your baby may be at risk of suffering some effects due to certain health concerns like heart and liver problems.

And to be on the safe side, take Nyquil after breastfeeding, or ask your doctor for safer options.

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