You may be wondering if it’s safe to use Tiger Balm in ointment form while breastfeeding.
It’s not always easy to tell what’s safe to take while breastfeeding and what’s not. Some medications are considered safe, but others can be harmful to your baby. Most herbal remedies might be OK but you always need to check when using over the counter medications just in case. Lactating women should always seek advice from their health care professionals.
We look into tiger balms, what it contains and any ingredients which may cause some concern. Let’s get into this!
Can breastfeeding mothers use tiger balm?
Overall, no we don’t consider it safe to use tiger balm pain relief cream when breastfeeding. The main reason is that it contains camphor which is dangerous for anyone under the age of 2. Also, it contains menthol which may inhibit your breast milk supply.
On top of the ingredients, the smell is quite strong and might be quite upsetting to a very young baby.
What is Tiger Balm?
Tiger Balm is a topical pain reliever and fever reducer, similar to medicated chest rubs. Tiger Balm is a topical rub that you can buy at most stores.
It comes as a cream, lotion or ointment and is made from ingredients such as camphor, eucalyptus oil and menthol.
Camphor products have been used for years to soothe aches and pains, reduce fever and aid in relaxation. But camphor can potentially be absorbed through the skin and affect your baby, both while you’re pregnant and breastfeeding.
How does Tiger Balm work?
Tiger Balm contains a chemical known as methyl salicylate, which is similar to aspirin. It works by reducing fever and easing muscle aches and pains – but it’s not for internal use. Methyl salicylate is absorbed into the bloodstream and can potentially cause side effects, including drowsiness, ringing in your ears, nausea and vomiting.
Tiger Balm ingredients include:
- 11% Natural Camphor.
- Methyl Salicylate
- 8.0% Menthol.
- 1.5% Clove Oil.
- 13.0% Cajuput Oil.
- Dementholised Mint Oil
- Yellow Soft Paraffin
- Hard Paraffin
Should Camphor Be Taken When Breastfeeding?
Camphor products should not be used by children under the age of two. Camphor, even in modest dosages, has been demonstrated to be lethal to toddlers. Seizures can also occur in children.
The majority of camphor products are in the form of a cream, ointment, or balm that you may apply to your skin like tiger balm.
While camphor oil compresses used to be prescribed for pain treatment from engorgement, healthcare practitioners no longer support this practice. Camphor oil is deadly if consumed, and it was never suggested for usage when the infant was still nursing on occasion.
Do not apply Tiger Balm while breastfeeding, and avoid using it on your skin if you plan to breastfeed in the next few hours. These pain relievers could at best get onto the baby’s skin and make the baby drowsy.
None of these should be used anywhere near the nursing area as they may be ingested by your baby. They probably won’t pass into the breast milk but they might and the risks are not known.
Menthol & Breast Milk Supply
Menthol should also be avoided if you are breastfeeding. It is one of those substances and foods that decrease milk supply. As a new breastfeeding mom, you don’t want any substances which may decrease or inhibit your breast milk supply. If you have a low milk supply this could make the situation a lot worse!
What is safe to take for muscle pain whilst breastfeeding?
If you’re looking for safer alternatives, consider using heat patches or warm baths to ease your aches and pains. Herbal remedies traditionally used may need to be reviewed to ensure they are safe.
Ibuprofen is recommended but ask your doctor first before taking this medication while breastfeeding. For treating nasal congestion caused you can look at taking excess vitamin c for sinus infections. Excessive vitamin c might cause some issues with your baby though so always ask your doctor before taking vitamin c.
What are the safest pain relievers to take when breastfeeding?
Many doctors recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen for muscle aches, headaches and other pain relief you need while nursing. These drugs are safe enough for most breastfeeding infants to ingest in small quantities through breast milk. Talk with your doctor to find out the appropriate dose for you.
Nonprescription Solutions Breast Milk might include motherlove nipple cream, lansinoh’s hpa lanolin or tender care lanolin. But you should always check the compatibility of any otc medication with other allergy medications you should be taking.
Take Away on Pain Relief Cream for Lactating Mothers
Tiger balm, vapor rub and any other camphor containing products are not safe for nursing mothers and may prove tox if your baby eats them. Always check the key ingredient in any oral decongestants or ointments, even if they are there in low concentration they may still cause damage.
This article was written by Sandra Baker – full time writer and the mother of four amazing kids (including twins!)
She’s also a breastfeeding counselor and has spent years helping new parents learn how to care for their children. When she’s not writing or caring for her children, Sandra likes to spend time reading and taking walks with her husband.