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Can You Take Benadryl While Breastfeeding Benadryl and Breastfeeding-

Can You Take Benadryl While Breastfeeding?

This Can you take Benadryl while breastfeeding? The answer here is “sort of!

Medical experts consider Benadryl safe during breastfeeding, but it is usually the last option when other alternatives show less effectiveness to severe allergic reactions.

The allergy and cold season can be a painful time of year, especially if you have to face the world and breastfeed with a stuffy nose and itchy eyes.

While taking Benadryl may help with these symptoms, it is a prescription drug/OTC and breastfeeding moms are often wary of taking any medications while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Breastfed babies have been known to experience drowsiness from Benadryl exposure, as also have some mothers.

Taking too much Benadryl when you are breastfeeding can lead to sleepiness in your infant, or they can develop paradoxical excitement, which will lead to an increase in crying. And that’s just for starters.

However, seeking alternatives may reduce the likelihood of side effects.

This blog post provides answers to some of your questions “can you take Benadryl while breastfeeding?” “is Benadryl safe while breastfeeding?” It also comes with FAQs that you might find helpful as a sick breastfeeding mom.

Learn whether Benadryl is safe for breastfeeding moms to take and other ways to feel better during allergy season.

See also: Safe Cold Medicines While Breastfeeding: What can I take?

What Is Benadryl?

What Is Benadryl - momtherly

Benadryl is an antihistamine brand name given to an over-the-counter (OTC) medication produced to relieve cough symptoms or allergic reactions, like burning, itching, redness, watery eyes, etc.

You can get it in oral and topical forms. Oral Benadryl is available as chewable tablets, capsules, and syrup to relieve common cold, allergies or hay fever symptoms.

Another form of Benadryl syrup is explicitly used to relieve cough and alleviate sore throats.

In contrast, topical Benadryl comes in gel or cream form for relieving skin itching, pain and rashes. These skin allergy symptoms can result from minor burns, insect bites, minor skin irritations, sunburn, minor scrapes and cuts, and some poisons.

The active component of this OTC drug, diphenhydramine, inhibits or blocks histamine reactions in the body, which manifest through allergy symptoms like allergic rhinitis, cough, watery eyes, etc.

The substance, Histamine, is released by specific cells in your body during an allergic reaction.

While blocking the histamine response, the diphenhydramine in Benadryl treats the allergic symptoms.

Aside from treating allergies, Benadryl is also prescribed to treat insomnia and other sleep issues.

As with other medication types, you should consult your physician before taking Benadryl or generic diphenhydramine medicines while breastfeeding.

Benadryl while Breastfeeding: What Are the Ingredients of Benadryl?

Diphenhydramine is the major active ingredient in most Benadryl products. This component belongs to a group of compounds known as antihistamines, which can relieve various allergy symptoms.

Like I mentioned above, antihistamines inhibit histamine action, a molecule in the body responsible for activating allergies.

However, some Benadryl products contain two active ingredients, while some have one (Diphenhydramine).

Here are some examples of Benadryl products and their active ingredients:

Oral Benadryl

Benadryl Allergy:

This allergy product has only one active ingredient, which is diphenhydramine (antihistamine).

Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion:

This Benadryl product comes with two active ingredients, namely:

  • Diphenhydramine, (Antihistamine), and
  • Phenylephrine (a decongestant)

Topical Benadryl

Benadryl Itch Cooling Gel:

The product does not contain diphenhydramine, an antihistamine that is usually used. Camphor is its only ingredient, which is a skin-applied pain reliever.

Benadryl Itch Stopping Cream:

On the other hand, this cream has two active ingredients, namely:

  • Diphenhydramine, (an antihistamine)
  • Zinc, a skin protectant

See also: Breastfeeding While Sick: What Medicine Can I Take?

Can You Take Benadryl While Breastfeeding: Effects of Benadryl When Breastfeeding

Can you take Benadryl while breastfeeding? Is Benadryl safe while breastfeeding? These are some of the numerous questions nursing mothers ask considering its side effects.

Since most things breastfeeding mothers consume can transfer to their babies, it is normal to show concerns about the adverse effects of medications like Benadryl.

Although it is generally safe to take during pregnancy, medical experts don’t recommend taking Benadryl while breastfeeding.

When used, the blood carries diphenhydramine to several parts of your body, including the breast tissue, from where it can get into breast milk.

Benadryl does not affect the amount of milk your body produces. Nevertheless, it may reduce the flow of milk from the breasts while breastfeeding.

When you use Benadryl on your skin or take the pills, it can pass from you to your infant through your breast milk.

In other words, children who breastfeed from mothers who take Benadryl may experience side effects. Infants and newborns are susceptible to antihistamines.

So you know, diphenhydramine is a pioneer in developing first-generation antihistamines, so it is one of the first drugs of its kind.

Consequently, these drugs produce more side effects than later generations of antihistamines.

According to its mode of administration, the body absorbs diphenhydramine from Benadryl through the stomach or the skin.

The majority of healthcare professionals recommend that breastfeeding women avoid taking Benadryl unless when necessary. In addition to making you tired, the drug can also pass to your baby through your milk.

Are you considering taking an antihistamine? Consult your doctor before taking any antihistamine while breastfeeding.

Your child’s doctor can help you sort out the risks. They may advise you to take the dose before bedtime once you are done breastfeeding for the day.

Alternatively, they may recommend another medication related to Benadryl.

Is Benadryl Safe while Breastfeeding? How  Benadryl Can Affect Your Baby

Generally, allergy medicines are not thought to affect a nursing baby. However, Benadryl would not be a top recommendation for breastfeeding mothers.


Diphenhydramine is an active ingredient in the brand that can cause adverse effects in babies.

Benadryl may have the following effects on newborns and infants:

  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Excitability

Younger babies are more likely to experience side effects. Doctors would not recommend a few allergy medicines for breastfeeding mothers (apart from Benadryl) due to their impact on the baby.

Pseudoephedrine is one of the few other ingredients in some allergy medicines that you may avoid when breastfeeding.

Although pseudoephedrine isn’t considered dangerous for babies, it can decrease milk production.

When a woman is in the later lactation stages or already experienced problems with milk production, she should avoid taking allergy medications containing pseudoephedrine.

Some research reveals pseudoephedrine can reduce milk production by up to 24 percent.

So back to Benadryl and breastfeeding!

LactMed, a U.S. drug and lactation database, conducted a study on nursing moms who took Benadryl. The report showed that 10 percent of babies exposed to diphenhydramine had colicky symptoms, irritability, and drowsiness.

Alternatives to Taking Benadryl While Breastfeeding

You can address your seasonal allergies in other ways than with Benadryl.

For allergy relief, your healthcare provider may prescribe low doses of products containing a second-generation antihistamine, like loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), or fexofenadine as alternatives to Benadryl. However, your physician may advise you not to take them too frequently.

Even though these drugs may pass into your breast milk, the side effects of these medications are less severe than those of Benadryl.

Listed below are some safe alternatives for treating your allergy symptoms that will have fewer effects on you, your baby and breast milk flow.

Loratadine (Claritin)

The second-generation medication, Claritin (loratadine), is safer to take than Benadryl, a first-generation drug. Thus, moms are less likely to feel drowsy or tired.

A mother’s breast milk will contain almost every drug she takes, and it is no different with Claritin.

However, breastfeeding infants are not known to experience any problems as a result of maternal dosage.

Like diphenhydramine from Benadryl, you should not take other medicines in conjunction with drowsiness-inducing drugs like pseudoephedrine.

Nevertheless, it is a safe medication, and it is unlikely to harm anyone. Consequently, I would recommend taking the lowest dose of Claritin for oral allergy treatment.

Cetirizine (Zyrtec)

Cetirizine is an all-around or seasonal OTC (over-the-counter) allergy medication. This Cetirizine is generally considered a safe and effective drug and is available in tablets and capsules.

It typically works within a few minutes after taking it once a day.

Some of the symptoms that cetirizine helps alleviate include sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, a runny nose, itchy throat or nose.

Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen

They are among the safest drugs for nursing mothers and their babies and are used to treat sore throats, fevers, and colds.

Despite higher maternal dosages, less amount goes into breast milk.

Saline Nasal Sprays

Healthcare providers and lactation consultants often recommend saline nasal sprays to treat allergy symptoms because they are safe and easy to use during breastfeeding.

Rather than take a drug orally to treat allergy symptoms, the mother can use a topical treatment.

Moreover, saline nasal sprays cleanse the nasal passages of pollen before they can cause allergies.

Generally, you can combine Tylenol and a nasal spray to relieve allergies or a cold. You are much safer using this than taking an antihistamine to treat your allergies.

Eye Drops

Generally, eye drops designed for colds, and allergies relief are safe for nursing mothers. As for allergy-related symptoms of the eyes, eye drops may be more effective than antihistamines.

Ultimately, eye drops can alleviate symptoms such as redness, itching, and watering.

In addition, like nasal sprays, these eye drops help treat allergy symptoms without taking medication orally.

Home Remedies

As an alternative to Benadryl, apply home remedies such as warm broth/soup, warm water gargles, and a ginger-honey mix.

You can use aloe vera gel to alleviate skin irritation and keep the skin hydrated.

Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes and remedies that will help you feel better without the need for medication.

Benadryl and Breastfeeding: Talk to Your Physician

I advise breastfeeding mothers to always check with their baby’s pediatrician before taking any medicine while breastfeeding.

When nursing, some medications are safe to take, while doctors do not recommend others.

If you’re breastfeeding, consult your doctor about the best options for relieving allergy symptoms.

The doctor can inform you of any over-the-counter medications that could ease your symptoms safely.

Additionally, they can provide you with information on treatments that are not drugs and how to prevent symptoms from occurring in the first place.

Can You Take Benadryl While Breastfeeding Summary

So, can you take Benadryl while breastfeeding? For mild to moderate allergy or cold symptoms, healthcare providers usually recommend using alternatives other than Benadryl. Some of these options include saline nasal sprays, eye drops, loratadine, and cetirizine.

However, your doctor may prescribe Benadryl in an emergency caused by a severe or life-threatening allergic reaction. So, because of the significant side effects of Benadryl, while breastfeeding, it is better as a prescription medication instead of an OTC drug.

Do you have a known allergy to insects or foods? Are you always with  Benadryl in case of an emergency?

Then you have to devise a plan for feeding your baby if you must take Benadryl.

Speak with your medical caregiver to come up with a plan and determine your best option.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Benadryl and Breastfeeding

Is it OK to breastfeed after taking Benadryl?

Although Benadryl is generally safe during pregnancy, it’s not recommended for use while breastfeeding.

But, if you must use this drug, breastfeed before taking it as newborns, and younger babies are sensitive to Benadryl effects in their mother’s breastmilk.

Also, contact your physician to find better ways to feed your baby before taking Benadryl.

How long does it take for Benadryl to get out of breast milk?

After one to two days, diphenhydramine in Benadryl is not likely to appear in significant concentrations in breast milk.

A study using a biologic assay system found that after a 100 mg intramuscular diphenhydramine dose in four women, drug levels in milk were undetectable in two women.

They detected 42 and 100 mcg/L drug levels in two others one hour after the dose.

Within five hours after the dose, milk levels were undetectable for two women, but 20 and 100 mcg/L for two others.

What allergy medicine is safe while breastfeeding?

Allergy medicines that are safe to use while breastfeeding includes Loratadine (Claritin), Cetirizine (Zyrtec), and fexofenadine. Research shows that they pass into breast milk in low amounts.

However, use lower doses of any of them. You shouldn’t also use them for a prolonged time.

Contact your healthcare provider for a proper prescription according to your condition.

Do antihistamines reduce milk supply?

When administered at low doses, antihistamines can reduce serum prolactin levels, but this may not affect breast milk production where lactation is established.

Can I take ibuprofen while breastfeeding?

Yes, it is safe to take ibuprofen, provided you do not have a stomach ulcer or asthma, which the drug further aggravates.

It enters your breastmilk in a small amount and is unlikely to harm your baby.

Stick to the recommended dose and take ibuprofen for the shortest amount of time.

How long is Benadryl in your system?

Elimination Benadryl half-life ranges from 6.7 to 11.7 hours for the typical healthy adult.

Therefore, the body gets rid of half of Benadryl between 6 and 12 hours after consumption. Within two days, the drug completely leaves the body.

Is it OK to take Benadryl every night?

The experts do not recommend taking these drugs for use beyond occasional sleeplessness.

Benadryl, which contains the antihistamine diphenhydramine, is only approved for treating short-term or temporary sleep difficulties.

Despite their effectiveness, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine does not recommend them as sleep aids.

When you take Benadryl for a longer time, your body will likely quickly build up a tolerance to the drug. This means that you will require a higher dosage of Benadryl for it to work.

However, higher dosages and long-term use are dangerous, and they cause potentially dangerous side effects.

What should you not take with Benadryl?

Don’t take Benadryl with antidepressants, indigestion or stomach ulcer medicines.

Taking it with cough and cold remedies containing an antihistamine will increase side effects.

Also, avoid taking Benadryl with alcohol because it can increase your sleepiness.

However, check the leaflet of this drug for more information on what you shouldn’t take with Benadryl.

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