Can I Take Aleve While Breastfeeding?

Aleve Can Offer Pain Relief Even While Breastfeeding

You’ve finally popped out your little one, and you think you’re in the clear for medication the next time a cold or headache rolls around—but not so fast. If you’re breastfeeding your baby, you still need to use caution when taking medicine. Fortunately, some pain relief options are available, including Aleve.

Aleve Specifics

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Aleve is the brand name for the drug “naproxen sodium.” It’s a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. NSAIDs are generally used to reduce swelling or fever, relieve pain and ease any minor aches caused by the common cold. Aleve is available without a prescription and can be found at any drugstore.

According to the packaging, you should take one Aleve every eight to 12 hours with a full glass of water. You can take two pills within the first hour for your first dose, but make sure not to take more than two within 12 hours and no more than three within 24 hours.

Aleve enters your breast milk in low amounts and is a long-acting drug, which means it stays in your system longer than some other pain relievers. As a result, you shouldn’t take it longer than a week while breastfeeding.

It’s always best to check with your or your baby’s doctor before starting any medication while breastfeeding. Your doctor also may be able to give you suggestions as to the best time to take Aleve, so it interferes as little as possible with the composition of your breast milk.

Other Pain Relief Options

Other pain relief options are available for a breastfeeding mom, including acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Both enter your breast milk in very small amounts.

Aspirin is one pain medication you should avoid. Research shows only small amounts pass into your breast milk, but because it’s linked to Reye’s syndrome in infants and young children, doctors recommend avoiding this pain reliever.

Natural Pain Relief

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Although safe pain relief options are available, you may still want to try to relieve your symptoms naturally.

If you’re seeking relief from a cold, make sure to drink lots of water, get plenty of rest and make time for some hot baths. Life with a little one can seem too busy for this, but the sooner you’re feeling better, the sooner you can get back to being a super-mom. Run a humidifier and take extra vitamin C, either from foods, juices or a vitamin supplement.

If you have a cough or sore throat, drink strong black tea or hot lemonade with honey. Fenugreek tea can also relieve head and chest congestion and cough. You can take zinc lozenges, but not for longer than a week because they can interfere with other minerals in your body. A saltwater gargle also can help. You can make your own by mixing 1 tablespoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water.

If a headache is the source of your pain, apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the area where it hurts. Take a warm bath or shower, nap, or go for a walk. If you can’t nap, at least try to rest quietly for a bit in a low-lit room. Have your partner rub your neck and back to try to ease any tension. If you can’t find someone to give you a massage, use your thumb or index finger to apply steady, rotating pressure to the painful area for 7 to 15 seconds.

Contacting Your Doctor

If Aleve doesn’t offer the pain relief you need, contact your doctor. He may be able to prescribe a prescription NSAID that’s compatible with breastfeeding, but she will need to review your symptoms and monitor your health while you’re taking any prescription meds.

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