Breastfeeding and Robitussin

Breastfeeding and Robitussin

For breastfeeding moms, it’s tough to find trustworthy answers to your questions concerning lactation and medication. In this ongoing series, “Know Your Meds,” we gather current research and helpful information on a number of medications to help you make informed, safe decisions during breastfeeding. This post covers Robitussin or guaifenesin and breastfeeding, and addresses the decisions you’ll be weighing when choosing whether or not to take this cough medication.

What is Robitussin?


Robitussin, also known as guaifenesin, is a cough medicine—or expectorant—that works by loosening congestion in your chest and throat so that it is easier to cough out through your mouth. It’s typically available as an over-the-counter medication and in generic brands as well. In some states, there are age restrictions on the purchase of Robitussin because of the alcohol content of the medication.

Other common names for this medication include: 

  • Guaifenesin
  • Guiatuss

Can I Take Robitussin While Breastfeeding?

According to the LactMed drug and lactation database, “it is unlikely that with usual maternal doses amounts in breastmilk would harm the nursing infant, especially in infants over 2 months of age.” 

However, Robitussin use while breastfeeding has not been sufficiently studied, and the database also states about this drug: “it is best to avoid the use of products with a high alcohol content while nursing.” 

Dr. Thomas Hale’s Infant Risk Center states that: “The poor efficacy of expectorants in general would suggest that they do not provide enough justification for use in breastfeeding mothers.  However, untoward effects to the infants have not been described.”

These questions from KellyMom can help you decide whether or not a to take a medication while breastfeeding:

  • Does the mother need this medication right now, or is it something she can easily postpone until the baby is older?
  • How old is the breastfeeding child?
  • Is the breastfeeding child healthy?
  • Is the medication in question one with a record of being safely given directly to babies and young children?

According to available medical research, Robitussin may be safe for use while breastfeeding, but if possible, it’s best avoided. If you have questions about using this medication while breastfeeding, you can call the Infant Risk Center at 1-806-352-2519 or speak with your physician or other relevant care provider.

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