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With cold and flu usually comes symptoms like cough, runny nose, fever, headache, chest congestion, etc. And as a breastfeeding mom, you are not immune to falling sick. One way or another, everything that goes into your mouth affects your baby. Because of this, you may want to ask, can I take Mucinex while breastfeeding? 

Yes, it is generally considered safe to take Mucinex while breastfeeding. However, always consult your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

Keep reading the article to find out if Mucinex use while breastfeeding is safe or should be avoided.

RELATED READ: WHAT MEDICINE CAN I TAKE WHILE BREASTFEEDING?

What Is Mucinex?

Mucinex (guaifenesin) is an over-the-counter (OTC) expectorant medication. It loosens mucus and clears cold and flu symptoms, including body pains, headache, cough, chest congestion, nasal congestion, sinus pressure, and a sore throat.

Mucinex is available in several over-the-counter medications, including tablets, liquids, liquid gel capsules, and dissolving granules. Mucinex also comes in both day and night formulas.

Some Mucinex medications contain only guaifenesin. While others contain other ingredients like Pseudoephedrine, acetaminophen, and dextromethorphan. 

Several Mucinex formulations exist with different dosing and ingredient amounts. So you should pay close attention to the labels of the specific one you plan to take and be sure you comply with the recommended dose.

Is It Safe to Take Mucinex While Breastfeeding?

If you have asked the question, can I take Mucinex while breastfeeding, know you are not alone. It is generally safe for breastfeeding moms to take Mucinex while nursing. Mucinex falls into the L2 category of medications. L2 is a safety rating according to Hale’s Medications & Mothers’ Milk 2021: A Manual of Lactational Pharmacology, written by Dr. Thomas Hale.

This scale measures the safety risk of every medication for breastfeeding moms. It categorizes drugs into safety categories (L1-L5). L1 is considered the safest, while L5 is contraindicated because it shows a significant risk to babies.

Remember to speak to your doctor or healthcare professional about the correct doses of any medication you plan to take while breastfeeding.

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Is Mucinex safe for babies?

Research on the excretion of Mucinex in breast milk or its effect on breastfed infants has not been studied. But it is unlikely that with usual maternal doses, amounts in breastmilk would harm a nursing infant, especially in infants over 2 months of age. 

So, Yes! Mucinex is generally considered safe for babies to receive through breast milk.

Mucinex is a better choice than many other cold and flu medications if you are breastfeeding because it is alcohol-free. It is in your best interest and that of your baby to avoid taking other cold medicines with a high alcohol content while nursing.

However, children under 2 years old should not be given any form of cough suppressant or cold medicine, especially those containing a decongestant or antihistamine. Because they can lead to possibly life-threatening side effects like convulsions, rapid heart rate, and death.

Always consult your doctor or a lactation consultant before deciding which medications to take while breastfeeding.

How much Mucinex can you take?

The general dosage for Mucinex or the generic drug guaifenesin is between 200 mg and 400 mg every four hours. 

Versions of this medication are available that are released slowly to your body over time. The dosage of each tablet is higher, from 600 mg to 1200 mg. 

Mucinex should be taken with a lot of water whenever possible. This helps to loosen the mucus and prevents dehydration from a drug designed to dry up bodily fluids.

Are there possible side effects of taking Mucinex while breastfeeding?

No reliable studies have yet been done about the safety of Mucinex or guaifenesin use while breastfeeding. Some sources claim that it is likely safe, especially the standard preparations.

As you are aware, most medications pass through breast milk to the baby. However, Mucinex is considered relatively safe and does not cause any harm. But nursing mothers need to be careful of Mucinex formulations like Mucinex-D. The D stands for decongestant, which in this case, is Pseudoephedrine. 

Pseudoephedrine works by drying up excess mucus. And just as it dries up your nasal congestion, on the flip side, it could also dry up your breast milk. It may also cause a breastfed infant to be more irritable than usual. 

The best thing you can do as a mother when you feel sick is to stay hydrated. And as much as you can, continue breastfeeding your baby or pump your breastmilk to ensure your milk supply stays up. 

Also, stick to basic Mucinex for your cold and chest congestion.

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Common Side Effects

Most women do not experience any side effects while taking Mucinex.

But Mucinex medications containing antihistamines and nasal decongestants are the usual culprits causing side effects. Let your doctor or healthcare provider know if you develop any reactions, including:

  • Headache
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting

Severe Side Effects

Rarely, Mucinex may cause severe side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you develop any severe symptoms or life-threatening reactions. Such as:

  • Hives 
  • Itchy, red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin 
  • Rash 
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat 
  • Tightness in the chest or throat
  • Trouble breathing, talking, or swallowing 
  • Unusual hoarseness 
  • Wheezing

Are there other non-drug ways to help relieve symptoms of a cold?

If you are worried about taking cold medications while breastfeeding, some alternatives could help relieve your symptoms. They include:

  • Drinking more fluids helps loosen the mucus and ease the removal of phlegm- particularly warm teas (breastfeeding-friendly tea of course) with honey (a natural expectorant). 
  • Steam inhalation can open your nasal passages and help you breathe more easily- try a hot shower.
  • Propping yourself using extra pillows while you sleep can help fluids drain from your nasal passages more easily.
  • Gargle with warm salt water.
  • Suck on a throat lozenge.

The bottom line about taking Mucinex while breastfeeding

Breastfeeding should not stop you from seeking relief from a cold, flu, and congestion. Your doctor can recommend the correct Mucinex formulation that is safe for you and will not harm your baby.

It is Mucinex medications containing pseudoephedrine and dextromethorphan that may affect your milk supply. You are better off avoiding them. Also, remember to stay hydrated while managing your cold symptoms.

At the end of the day, you should not be scared of taking Mucinex medications while breastfeeding your baby.

What remedies do you use have you have a cold as a breastfeeding mom?