Skip to Content

Can I Use Vicks While Breastfeeding? Everything You Need To Know!

This post contains affiliate links and is for general information purposes only. Please visit my disclosure policy for more information.

Wondering if you can use Vicks while breastfeeding? Here’s everything you need to know, plus other breastfeeding-safe medications for common sicknesses.

If you’re a first time mom and breastfeeding, you’ll need to learn what medications are safe for your baby and which ones to avoid.

There are lots of medication options out there, and unfortunately, some of them can be very harmful to your little one.

So, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider for the best advice and read other credible sources to help you know what’s safe.

That goes for cold medicine, pain reliever medications, and even creams and lotions.

So is, Vicks Vaporub safe to use?

Here’s everything you need to know, plus other options to help you deal with ailments and illnesses while breastfeeding.

RELATED: Is Vicks Safe During Pregnancy?

Can I use Vicks while breastfeeding?

Blue and green tub of Vicks Vaporub, safe pregnancy medication, next to mask.

Thankfully, you don’t have to stop nursing when you get sick. In fact, it’s good for your baby because you can pass along your antibodies. However, if you choose the wrong medication, you could also pass along harmful substances through your breast milk to your child.

But, when it comes to Vicks VapoRub and breastfeeding, there isn’t a definitive answer as to whether it’s safe or not.

Many feel that Vicks should not be used at all while breastfeeding because some of the active ingredients have been shown to cause harm in babies.

Others say it’s okay to use Vicks while breastfeeding, but you should make sure it doesn’t get on or near your baby. And you should be especially careful not to get it on your breasts as your baby could ingest it.

If you do use Vicks, be sure to apply it after you nurse and avoid skin-to-skin contact until you’ve been able to thoroughly wash it off and clean your hands.

Some moms recommend applying Vicks to your feet instead of your chest to be extra careful.

Why might Vicks be harmful to your baby?

Vicks contains menthol and camphor which can cause severe side effects in babies such as difficulty breathing and liver damage when applied directly and the fumes may have a negative effect as well.

Menthol may also affect your milk production, though this is typically only the case when ingested in large amounts. But, if you want to be extra careful, avoid products that contain menthol as well as parsley, sage, and peppermint.

So, the answer to whether or not you can use Vicks while breastfeeding is a personal decision. Weigh the risks and benefits or you can look for other safe options like the medications listed below.

Other Vicks Products

You might be surprised to know that Vicks carries products other than their VapoRub. They offer a nasal spray and a Vicks inhaler.

Vicks nasal spray is safe while pregnant and breastfeeding because it doesn’t absorb into the body.

The Vicks inhaler is also safe for the pregnant or nursing mom. It acts locally in the nasal passages and only very small amounts are released into the bloodstream.

Medications Other Than Vicks to Use While Breastfeeding

Brunette woman blows her nose with a tissue while resting head on pink pillow.

Some moms suggest using other vapor rub brands made specifically for babies and children like Mama Earth or Zarbees.

And here are some other medication options that are approved by the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics:

Cold symptoms like runny nose, sore throat and nasal congestion

  • Any throat lozenge or cough drops without menthol (or in moderation)
  • Nasal sprays like Ocean mist
  • Oral decongestants like Mucinex and Sudafed Cold and Cough
  • Cough suppressant medications like Robitussin and Robitussin DM

Headaches and muscle aches

  • Tylenol, Extra Strength Tylenol, Tylenol PM
  • Acetaminophen

Allergy Medications

  • Nasal decongestant like Claritin
  • Benadryl
  • Clear Eyes
  • Loratadine

Sore or Cracked Nipples

Make sure you know the best nipple creams for breastfeeding. And, here’s a complete list of pregnancy-safe and breastfeeding-safe medications from AWH, which includes options for stool softeners, heartburn, yeast infections, and more.

If you have a more serious issue like a sinus infection that doesn’t go away or gets worse, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Natural Cold Remedies

Brunette woman breastfeeds baby while laying down on a white nursing pillow with gray stars.

If you prefer more natural alternatives, there are many great options to clear your nasal passages, decrease cough, and treat other cold symptoms without using medication or Vicks while breastfeeding.

Steam inhalation or a neti pot is great for sinus infections and for relieving congestion. And you can try honey and ginger tea or brothy soups to help soothe a sore throat.

You can also use a cold/hot compress for aches and pains, nasal strips, and saline drops.

And, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, get lots of rest, and up your Vitamin C intake.

More Breastfeeding Tips for Sick Moms

In addition to safely using Vicks while breastfeeding or using other medications and remedies, you can also:

  • Use a nursing pillow to make breastfeeding sessions more comfortable.
  • Or, you can try different breastfeeding positions, like a laid-back position if you’re feeling really down.
  • Make sure your baby has a proper latch to avoid lipstick nipple and other breastfeeding complications that can exacerbate your already weakened immune system.
  • Keep a water mug or tumbler close by to stay hydrated.
  • Use a hands-free pump like the Elvie pump so you can collect milk with less effort.
  • Get your baby on a good sleeping schedule so you can get more rest.
  • Ask for help! Don’t try to do it all while you’re sick. If you have a good support system, don’t be afraid to use it!

Thankfully, most illnesses are over quickly, so you’ll be back to feeling better in no time!


Does menthol affect milk supply?

Menthol can affect milk supply if ingested in high quantities. It’s recommended that breastfeeding moms avoid peppermint, sage, parsley, and menthol. But, an occasional indulgence is typically okay. If you’re concerned about milk supply, read these tips on how to refill breastmilk to help increase your production.

What can I take for a cold while breastfeeding?

There are lots of breastfeeding-safe medications for colds and allergies including Robitussin, Tylenol, Benadryl, Sudafed, and Claritin. You can also use Vicks while breastfeeding, but be sure it doesn’t make contact with your baby. Or, you can try natural remedies, like steam, broth, nasal strips, and honey ginger tea.

The Bottom Line

Brunette woman wearing face mask and pajamas sits in beige chair and nurses baby.

There’s no definitive answer on whether or not to use Vicks while breastfeeding. However, it is generally considered safe if:

  • The Vaporub does not come in contact with your baby.
  • You keep your baby away from the fumes.
  • It’s not applied to the breast.
  • You thoroughly remove the Vaporub from the skin before coming in contact with your baby.

Other Vicks products like the Vicks Nasal Spray and the Vicks Inhaler are considered safe while pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you feel that Vicks isn’t a safe option for you and your child, there are plenty of other medications and natural remedies to try including Robitussin, Tylenol, Benadryl, Sudafed, and Claritin. And steam, broth, nasal strips, and honey ginger tea.

If you’re using Vicks while breastfeeding or other medications and you don’t get better within a few days, your symptoms get worse, or you have a fever for more than 3 days, be sure to reach out to your doctor for extra care and to ensure you and your baby’s safety.

Want More?

If this post on Vicks while breastfeeding was helpful, be sure to check out these other breastfeeding tips and tricks:

Your Turn

If you have more questions about using Vicks while breastfeeding, or other breastfeeding-safe medications let me know in the comments!

Pinterest graphic with text and woman breastfeeding her baby with a face mask on.