Benadryl and Its Effects on Breastfeeding

Benadryl is a medication that is temporarily prescribed to relieve symptoms like common cold, hay fever, and other types of allergies. While Benadryl is safe to use, it does pass to your child through milk and can have certain undesired effects. Therefore, in case you are a breastfeeding mother, Benadryl is not for you, at least for the time being.

In the below section, let us discuss how Benadryl works, what all its effects can be, and its safer alternatives.

Officially, Benadryl is a common brand name given to an medication that is well-known to help relieve itching, certain symptoms of allergic reactions, and minor pain (in some cases). Benadryl is available in three forms: oral tablets, liquids, and capsules, which help relieve most of the symptoms of common cold, hay fever, and other types of allergies.

On the other hand, topical Benadryl gel or cream helps relieve itching as well as pain from:

  • Minor Burns

  • Insect Bites

  • Skin Irritations

  • Sunburn

  • Rashes from poison oak and poison ivy

  • Small Cuts

The key ingredient found in Benadryl typically sold in the US is diphenhydramine. This is an antihistamine and helps in blocking histamine, – a substance released by certain cells in your body whenever an allergic reaction occurs. Among the symptoms caused by Histamine are itchy and watery eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. The primary function of Diphenhydramine is to help reduce all these symptoms.

Can Benadryl cause false positives?

Yes, diphenhydramine (Benadryl), which is sold as over-the-counter sleep aid medications Tylenol PM and Advil PM, is known to show up as false positive result for opiates, methadone, or PCP on drug tests (more details here). “

Effects of Benadryl on Breastfeeding Mothers

While Benadryl have no effects on the amount of milk produced by your body, it often reduces the milk flow from your breasts when you feed your child. Besides, Benadryl is also known to pass to your child via your milk, especially when you apply it on your skin or even take the pills.

In other words, Benadryl may have certain side effects in case of children breastfeeding from their mothers that take it regularly. To be precise, all newborns are very sensitive to antihistamines. The following are the side effects of Benadryl in newborns:

  • Excitability

  • Drowsiness

  • Irritability

It is recommended to talk to your doctor, in case you are breastfeeding these days and considering taking Benadryl or any antihistamine for that matter. Your doctor is the best person to help you avoid the potential risks to your baby.

He/she may prescribe you to take Benadryl or any antihistamine before your bedtime, i.e. when you have finished breastfeeding your child for the day. Based on how your body is reacting to an antihistamine, your doctor may have an alternate solution for you.

Alternatives to Benadryl for Breastfeeding Mothers

The key ingredient found in Benadryl is diphenhydramine, which belongs to the first-generation antihistamines. In other words, it was one-of-the-first kind of antihistamines developed. And, the other generations of antihistamines have many more side effects.

Based on your condition, your doctor may choose to suggest low doses of products containing a second-generation antihistamine, which is cetirizine or loratadine, and not Benadryl. Besides, while he/she is also likely to recommend avoid using them every so often, these drugs are still expected to pass into your milk. As a result, your baby may remain sleepy, but not as sleepy as Benadryl would make them.

Safe Alternatives to Benadryl

As you already know that Benadryl is an antihistamine, there are many other antihistamines available which you can use as Benadryl alternatives.

Generally, antihistamines are widely known to belong as either first or second generation.

The common side effect of first-generation antihistamines is sleepiness apart from other side effects caused by the second-generation of antihistamines.

Benadryl primarily consists of diphenhydramine, which belongs to the first-generation antihistamines. The following are examples of other medications that belong to these groups:

  1. First-generation Antihistamines

  • Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton)

  • Hydroxyzine (Vistaril)

  • Brompheniramine

  • Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine)

  1. Second-generation Antihistamines

  • Cetirizine (Zyrtec)

  • Fexofenadine (Allegra)

  • Desloratadine (Clarinex)

  • Loratadine (Claritin)

  • Levocetirizine (Xyzal)

How to Take Benadryl?

You should take Benadryl as per the instructions mentioned on the package or in accordance with the directions given by your doctor. Never start taking Benadryl on your own unless recommended to you.

When Take Benadryl?

The dosage of Benadryl is subject to your condition, such as an allergic reaction, insect bite, or sunburn. In case you have got hay fever or any other respiratory allergy, you should maintain a gap of 4 to 6 hours between your doses.

On the other hand, you must apply topical Benadryl cream or gel a minimum of 4 times, in case of itchy skin or an allergy. You can maintain a gap of 4 to 6 hours between your application.

Benadryl with Food

Depending upon how your doctor has prescribed Benadryl to you, you can take your dose with as well as without food without any worry.

Can you Crush Benadryl?

You can crush Benadryl tablets as per your own choice. However, you can easily find Benadryl chewable tablets and liquid solution, in case you have trouble swallowing the whole tablets.

How does Benadryl work?

Your body is bound to release histamine (i.e. a chemical messenger) if you have a common cold or certain allergies. Histamine leads to symptoms like inflammation, itchiness, and a runny nose. Since Benadryl is an antihistamine, it effectively blocks some effects of histamine and leads to decreased symptoms it is known to cause.

How long Benadryl takes to Work?

Based on what type of Benadryl you are using, you can expect the medication to work from immediately to within 15 to 30 minutes. For example, Benadryl in its oral form starts working within 15 minutes, whereas it begins to work right away when applied to the skin in the gel form.


While Benadryl is a widely used medication to relieve symptoms like common cold, hay fever, and other types of allergies, it does pass to your child through milk when breastfeeding and may have undesired effects.

Therefore, Benadryl may not be the right option for you, at least for the time being, in case you are a breastfeeding mother.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

Check Also

3 Facts About CBDfx

CBD has been legal in the United States for only a few short years, but …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.