20 Natural Home Remedies for Colds and Flu While Breastfeeding

Catching a cold or the flu can be challenging, but there are several natural remedies you can utilize to alleviate symptoms and promote a speedy recovery.

mug with tissues, the flu
Someone has the flu - Photo by Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

Catching a cold or the flu can be challenging, but there are several natural remedies you can utilize to alleviate symptoms and promote a speedy recovery.

In this article, we will explore 20 natural remedies that are safe for breastfeeding moms. Remember to consult with healthcare professionals or lactation specialists before trying any new remedies to ensure their suitability for your specific situation.

Please note that the remedies provided below are meant for the mother, not the infant.

#1 Rest and Hydration:

Resting and staying hydrated are crucial aspects of recovering from a cold or flu. Adequate rest allows your body to heal while staying hydrated, helps loosen congestion, and prevents dehydration. Drink plenty of fluids, including water, herbal teas, and clear broths.

Illnesses, such as fevers, colds, or flu, can cause increased fluid loss through sweating, increased respiratory rate, or fever-induced dehydration. If you don't replenish these lost fluids by drinking enough water, your overall hydration level may decrease, potentially affecting your breast milk supply.

#2 Nasal Irrigation:

Use a saline nasal spray or a neti pot to relieve nasal congestion and improve breathing. Ensure that your specific saline solution is safe for breastfeeding mothers.

using a neti pot, nasal irrigation
Using a Neti pot

#3 Warm Compresses:

Applying a warm compress to your sinuses or using steam inhalation can help soothe congestion and alleviate discomfort.

#4 Herbal Remedies:

Certain herbs, such as chamomile, echinacea, and elderberry, have immune-boosting properties and may help relieve cold symptoms. However, consult with healthcare professionals or lactation specialists before using herbal remedies to ensure their safety while breastfeeding.

#5 Breast Milk's Benefits:

Breast milk is not only the best source of nutrition for your baby but also contains antibodies that can protect them from illness. Continue breastfeeding your baby, as it provides essential nutrients and immune support. Utilizing stored breast milk can serve as a preventive measure for older children. Additionally, there are various other intriguing applications of breast milk documented in the resource provided.

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#6 Probiotics:

Probiotics, found in certain yogurts and supplements, can help support a healthy immune system. They promote a balance of good bacteria in the body, which may aid in fighting off infections.

#7 Honey:

Add a teaspoon of honey to warm herbal tea or warm water with lemon to soothe a sore throat and suppress coughing. Honey can provide a coating and soothing sensation in the throat, alleviating irritation and discomfort. Honey has been found to have cough-suppressant effects, particularly in children, reducing coughing and providing temporary relief. It also possesses natural antimicrobial properties, which can help combat certain infections and bacterial throat infections.

When using honey for coughs and sore throats, it's important to choose raw, unprocessed honey for maximum benefits. However, honey should not be given to infants under one year of age due to the risk of botulism. Mixing honey with warm water or herbal teas and using it in moderation is recommended.

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#8 Essential Oils:

Certain essential oils, such as eucalyptus and lavender, can provide relief from congestion and promote relaxation when used in a diffuser or diluted and applied topically. Ensure proper dilution and consult with healthcare professionals for guidance.

#9 Ginger:

Sip on ginger tea or add fresh ginger to your meals. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help alleviate congestion and soothe a sore throat.

ginger tea
Ginger Tea

#10 Vitamin C:

Increase your intake of vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens. Vitamin C supports immune function and may help reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms.

#11 Steam Shower or Bath:

Take a steamy shower or bath to enjoy the benefits of steam. The warm, humid environment can help relieve congestion and provide relaxation.

#12 Elevation:

Elevate your upper body with extra pillows while sleeping to ease congestion and promote better breathing.

#13 Garlic:

Incorporate garlic into your meals, or take odorless garlic supplements. Garlic has antimicrobial properties that may help fight off cold and flu viruses. Research suggests that when a mother consumes a significant amount of garlic, it can enhance the flavor of breast milk, potentially leading to increased breastfeeding duration by encouraging the baby to spend more time at the breast. As a result, this prolonged feeding may have a positive impact on breast milk production.

#14 Warm Soups and Broths:

Enjoy warm soups and broths, which can provide hydration, nutrients, and comfort during a cold or flu. Include ingredients like vegetables, lean proteins, and herbs for added benefits.

warm soup, butternut soup
Warm Turmeric Soup

#15 Echinacea Tea:

Sip on echinacea tea to support your immune system. Echinacea is believed to have immune-boosting properties and can be found in tea form or as a supplement. It is also safe to take while breastfeeding.

#16 Warm Saltwater Gargle:

To soothe a sore throat and reduce inflammation, gargle with warm saltwater. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle for about 30 seconds before spitting it out. This remedy can provide temporary relief and help reduce the discomfort of a sore throat.

#17 Warm Herbal Compress:

Create a warm herbal compress by soaking a clean cloth in a mixture of warm water and herbal tea. Chamomile or eucalyptus tea can be used for their soothing properties. Wring out the excess liquid and apply the warm compress to your forehead or chest to help relieve congestion and promote relaxation.

herbal compress, headache, ill, flu symptoms
Herbal Compress

#18 Apple Cider Vinegar:

Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with warm water and honey. Drink this mixture to help soothe a sore throat and provide relief from coughing. Apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties that may help fight off bacteria and viruses.

#19 Tissue Salts:

Tissue salts, also known as cell salts or biochemic salts, are a form of homeopathic remedy that are often used as an alternative approach for various health conditions, including colds and flu. These salts are prepared from minerals that are naturally found in the body and are believed to restore balance and support cellular function. Tissue salts for coughs and colds include Nat Mur (runny nose), Ferrum Phos (fever) and Kali Mur, Kali Sulph, Kali Phos, Calc Fluor, and Calc Phos.

#20 Stay Warm and Rest:

Keeping yourself warm and getting ample rest is essential for a speedy recovery. Bundle up in warm clothing, use blankets, and avoid exposure to cold temperatures. Allow your body to rest and heal by getting plenty of sleep and avoiding excessive physical exertion.

mom and baby sleeping
Mom Sleeping With Baby


As a breastfeeding mom, it's important to prioritize your health while managing cold and flu symptoms. Remember to consult with healthcare professionals or lactation specialists for personalized advice and to ensure the safety of any remedies while breastfeeding. With proper care, natural remedies, and guidance, you can navigate through the cold and flu season while maintaining your breastfeeding journey and enjoying the special moments of motherhood. Stay healthy!