Natural Remedies for COVID Symptoms for Breastfeeding MothersJan 28, 2022
The #1 question I am getting asked right now…”Help! I tested positive for COVID and
I am breastfeeding. What medications can I take?”
Whether it be a nasty cold, flu, sinus, or COVID, the symptoms can all be miserable! I
get asked a lot about what over-the-counter medications are safe for breastfeeding moms. The answer is fairly easy…. most medications are “safe” for breastfeeding moms, but like any medications, certain ones can have side effects for mom and/or
baby. My go-to advice is to always try natural remedies that treat your symptoms first
before resorting to medication.
So, what are the most helpful natural remedies for those miserable symptoms like
cough, sore throat, sinus congestion, fever, runny nose, etc.?
- Wash Your Hands
Back to the basics with good ole’ handwashing. Wash your hands with soap and
water as often as possible. Lather all surfaces of your hands and count slowly to
the count of 20. Rinse with clean water and dry with a disposable paper towel.
When someone is sick it is best to use disposables. Now is not the time for
everyone in the family to be sharing the same kitchen or bathroom hand towel.
Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If it is not possible to wash your
hands then use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in it.
- Stay Hydrated and Rest
Water, flavored seltzer water, electrolyte replacement drinks (watch the sugar
content), hot tea (especially made with ginger, lemon, and honey), warm soups
(especially bone broth), fruits and veggies that have a high-water content
(melons, pineapple, oranges, celery, cucumbers are just a few). Garlic has
immunity-boosting properties as well. Rest for any mom is hard to come by, but
now is the time to ask for help so you can rest. Sneak in some rest time when
the baby is sleeping or at minimum put your feet up and relax your body. TLC is
a must for getting better!
- Take Supplements
-Vitamin C is known to help boost immunity. Natural sources of Vit C are in citrus
fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit, peppers, broccoli, brussels
sprouts, or potatoes. You can take extra Vitamin C as a supplement as well.
-Vit D3 has many great benefits. For the sake of this article, it is known to boost your immune system. We produce it naturally when we are exposed to sunlight. That can be difficult during the winter months in some areas so taking a supplement can help.
-Echinacea is an herbal supplement that is safe for breastfeeding mothers and is known to help with immunity as well.
-Elderberry Syrup-the Infant Risk Center does not recommend the use of
Elderberry Syrup for breastfeeding mothers unless the syrup is known to have
been made with fresh, ripe berries.
- Take a Hot Bath or Shower
The steam from the bath or shower can help with congestion. Even better is put
a few of drops of pure grade Eucalypts essential oil in the bath water or base of
the shower. Inhaling steam over a pot of simmering hot water is also helpful to
clear up congestion. Be mindful when doing so to prevent burns.
- Use a Netti Pot or Saline Nasal Spray/Mist
If you have never used a netti pot it can be a little tricky at first, but is definitely a
game changer to clean and soothe the sinuses. Most kits come with saline
packets so be sure to use one. If a netti pot is not within your comfort zone, then
I would recommend using over the counter saline nasal spray/mist. It will help
keep dry nasal passages soft and moistened.
- Facial massage
If you are having sinus pain and congestion, facial massage helps so much!
Lean your head back slightly. Starting at your forehead, take your fingertips at
the center of your forehead and smooth them across your forehead tracing down
along your temple area. Then take your fingertips at the bridge of your nose and
slowly trace down the sides of your nose until you feel where your sinuses are
and place gentle pressure for 3-5 seconds. Continue tracing your fingers down
underneath your cheek bones. Repeat as many times as you need to. Applying
ice packs to the face may help sinus pain as well.
- Run a Vaporizer
Running a vaporizer is an easy way to help keep the air moist which can help
you breathe better.
To help with a sore throat, place 1 teaspoon of salt into a large mug of warm
water and gargle. You can also safely use throat spray, sore throat lozenges or a
spoonful of organic, raw, honey for throat pain. Keeping the throat moist is key to
helping it feel better.
- Use a Vapor Rub
Breastfeeding moms can safely use a vapor rub made with camphor,
eucalyptus, and menthol type ointment to ease cough and congestion. It can be
applied to the throat and upper chest. It is very important not to apply it to the breasts and to wipe off prior to breastfeeding as to not get it close to the baby’s eyes.
Coughing can be one the most annoying and lingering cold and COVID symptoms but it is our body’s natural way to bring excess mucus up from the
lungs and airway. Some key natural remedies to help with cough ultimately keep
the airway moist to loosen the mucus. You can gargle with warm salt water, use
cough drops, sip warm ginger, lemon and honey tea, use steam from the shower
or inhale the steam from a boiling pot of water over the stove. Using a cupped
hand, you can also tap, percuss-fancy medical word, your chest in rhythmic, up
and down motion to help break up the mucus. Going out into the cold can also
calm an overactive cough. The droplets from coughing are known to spread
viruses so be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or
sneezing or cough into your elbow.
- Take Pain/Fever Reducers
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Motrin) are both safe for breastfeeding
mothers to reduce pain, muscle aches and fever. Take as directed on the bottle.
So, you have tried all these homeopathic remedies to treat the symptoms and
you are not feeling better. What do you need to know about cold and flu
medications while you are breastfeeding?
- Decongestants are generally considered safe for breastfeeding, but plain
and simple, if it can dry up mucus and snot, it can potentially dry up or decrease
your milk supply. Use with caution and chose a product that is specific to your
- Antihistamines block histamine in the body to lessen allergy type symptoms.
Most are regarded as safe but should be used with caution in moms and babies.
Some research suggests that they can cause drowsiness and/or decrease milk
With the use of any medication with breastfeeding it is always best to check with your
doctor or an IBCLC. The app Mommy Meds run by the InfantRisk Center or the app
LactMed run by NIH are other reputable sources to get accurate information.
Most importantly, KEEP BREASTFEEDING AND/OR PUMPING TO KEEP YOUR
MILK SUPPLY UP! I am sending you many well wishes to feeling better very soon!
You’ve got this Mama!
YOU are your baby's best beginning in life!
Want a FREEBIE to help keep your milk supply up?
Click HERE to get access to the FREE Mini Milk Boosting eBook!
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