All of the commonly used antibiotics as well as both prescription and over-the-counter cold remedies (decongestants, antihistamines, and cough remedies) are safe to take while breastfeeding. Even codeine-containing cough syrups are safe to take before bed, if necessary, for a few nights, unless your baby is a newborn. (Use a cough syrup that contains dextromethorphan (DM) if you are unable to sleep.)
Rather than once-a-day, long-acting medications, use short-acting medicines that are taken 3-4 times a day and try to take them just after breastfeeding. Try single-ingredient medications (either decongestants or antihistamines) before trying combinations.
Finally, don’t forget non-drug cold remedies: a “steam clean” and a “nose hose.” Twenty minutes of inhaling steam from a facial steamer loosens secretions in clogged breathing passages. Add one drop of eucalyptus oil for a better effect. Spritz your stuffy nose several times a day with over-the-counter saline nasal spray. These two safe and simple remedies keep the secretions that accumulate during colds and allergies from collecting in sinuses and breathing passages and serving as a medium for bacteria growth, and thus may prevent a cold from progressing to sinusitis or bronchitis.
Concerning the safety of antibiotics while breastfeeding, doctors usually follow the principle that if it’s safe to give the antibiotic directly to the infant, it’s certainly safe for the mother to take it while breastfeeding.
Sulfa -containing antibiotics should be avoided in the newborn period, since the newborn’s liver is not able to adequately metabolize them. The new quinolone antibiotics (e.g., Floxin and Cipro ) are safe to take while breastfeeding, if your doctor decides that there are no equally effective alternatives. Because these medications are new and their safety is not entirely established, it would be wise to take the medication at bedtime after the last breastfeeding and to stop taking the medication if the infant shows any gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea.