Can You Take Mucinex While Breastfeeding?
All you want is to find yourself a magic pill that can help you recover overnight so that you can get back to taking care of your helpless little one. However, when you are breastfeeding, you cannot just pick and swallow any pill. Your breastmilk will carry traces of almost everything you eat to your baby.
So, without further ado, let's great straight to finding out if taking Mucinex while breastfeeding is safe. Keep reading to learn more about the drug's works, Mucinex side effects, and natural alternatives if available.
What Is Mucinex?
Mucinex is used to treat chest congestion that occurs during respiratory tract infections. If you have a common cold or have been diagnosed with bronchitis or pneumonia, you will most likely be prescribed Mucinex. It is a class of medicine referred to as expectorant.
Expectorants help clear up your lungs and airways. They do this by thinning the mucus, which leads to a more productive cough. To simplify, we can say that expectorants loosen the mucus and help you cough up more phlegm.
This relieves congestion and also throws out the pathogens trapped by the mucus, preventing your body from being attacked by them. If you have ever considered Mucinex a cough suppressant, this is the right time to throw the confusion out of the window.
Cough suppressants act on your brain and reduce the reflex that causes you to cough. But expectorants like Mucinex help you cough more mucus to clear the congestion.
Guaifenesin:The Active Ingredient of Mucinex
Mucinex is the brand name under which the expectorant Guaifenesin is sold. It reduces the viscosity of your mucus by hydrating it, making your cough more productive. Guaifenesin is found in an array of cold medicines, antihistamines, decongestants, and cough suppressants.
At present, it is the only expectorant to have got the approval of the US Food and Drug Administration. Mucinex side effects are usually minimal when taken at prescribed doses.
However, potential side effects include drowsiness, fatigue, headache, rashes, constipation, nausea, and vomiting if taken more than required. Now, let's see if Mucinex qualifies as one of the cold medicines safe for breastfeeding mothers.
Can You Take Mucinex While Breastfeeding?
Not much research has been conducted on the safety of taking Mucinex while breastfeeding. The limited number of studies that have been conducted show that trace amounts of Mucinex pass into breast milk.
However, the amount is too negligible to have a profound physiological impact on breastfed infants. Therefore, Mucinex is usually considered safe for breastfeeding. It is placed in the L2 category of Dr. Hale's classification of drugs based on their compatibility with breastfeeding. If you are totally new to this concept, let us break it down.
L1- Drugs that are categorized as L1 are the safest. Enough evidence supports that the intake of these drugs does not have adverse effects on breastfed babies.
L2- drugs in this category are said to be safer. Research has been conducted on these drugs only on a limited number of breastfeeding mothers. However, the conclusions state that these drugs are safe for breastfed babies.
L3- These drugs are moderately safe. Medicines in this class either have minimal side effects or have not been subjected to controlled studies. These can be prescribed in cases where the benefits outweigh the side effects.
L4- This is the class of possibly hazardous drugs. These medicines are known to harm either breastfed infants or affect milk production. They still have a chance to be prescribed in cases where no safer drug is available to pull the nursing mother out of a severe condition.
L5- L5 category drugs are contraindicated. There is sufficient evidence to indicate significant risks for breastfed infants. The benefits of these drugs fail to outweigh their adverse effects; therefore, they are never prescribed to breastfeeding mothers.
Hence, as an L2 category drug, Mucinex easily makes it to the list of cold medicines safe for breastfeeding mothers. However, here is a little piece of information we want you to embed in your mind. Mucinex doesn't contain only Guaifenesin. It can have other drugs like dextromethorphan and pseudoephedrine.
Mucinex D, used as a decongestant, has pseudoephedrine, a compound responsible for reducing milk supply. Therefore, never forget to check the composition of Mucinex while buying. The smartest thing is to talk to your doctor first and then gulp down the pill. This will keep you and your baby above any possible risks.
After taking the medicine, it is better not to nurse your baby for a couple of hours and allow the drug to clear up your system. If your baby's mealtime falls around the time you have been advised to take a pill, you can pump the milk before taking the medicine and tap into the stored supply when needed.
The Wonders of Natural Expectorants
Although taking Mucinex during breastfeeding is safe, there are a plethora of natural expectorants which show equal effectiveness in loosening mucus and making your cough productive.
So, if you catch a cold while breastfeeding and are hesitant to take medicines, natural expectorants can help you heal. Even if you take medications, you can still reap the benefits of home remedies and experience a faster recovery.
Moisture is the most basic yet effective expectorant. Take a hot shower and see how easily you can cough out the phlegm. Nothing can surpass the effectiveness of warm water during a common cold. Honey, peppermint, and ivy green have also been found to treat chest congestion efficiently.
Make yourself a glass of warm water, add honey and slurp your sweet drink to pull out the stubborn cough, or make yourself a cup of peppermint or ivy green tea and sip them to ease the congestion.
Based on the research conducted so far, taking Mucinex while breastfeeding is not harmful. However, the breastfeeding journey is unique to every woman, and all of our bodies respond differently to different substances.
Therefore, if you catch a cold during breastfeeding and the tightness in your chest troubles you, don't write your own prescription. Talk to your doctor and confirm that Mucinex is a suitable choice of medicine.
If they have another opinion, then blindly go by it. You can, however, always complement your medication with natural remedies to recover faster.