Medication while breastfeeding
Breastfeeding gives Your Child a healthy start, but if you have a reason to take medication during this period, you might have questions about the possible impact on your breast milk.
So you may need to know the following:
Which medicines are safe to take when breastfeeding?
Some drugs are safe to take during breastfeeding because even if they pass into your breast milk, they’re usually in small quantities that won’t harm Your Child. But you should always ask your doctor or pharmacist to be sure.
Here are some examples of safe-to-take medicines:
- Acetaminophen, such as paracetamol
- Fluconazole (Diflucan)
- Penicillins, such as amoxicillin and ampicillin
- Pseudoephedrine-containing medications, such as Sudafed, Zyrtec D, and others — use with caution because pseudoephedrine can reduce milk production
- Aluminium Hydroxide
- Magnesium Hydroxide
Birth control pills
- Contraceptives that contain only progestin, such as the minipill
How does the medicine I take affect my breastfeeding?
The quantity of a drug that gets into breast milk and how it can affect a baby varies according to many factors like your baby’s age, the type of drug, the dose, and the way it’s taken.
The effects a drug can have on a baby include diarrhea, vomiting, and unusual sleepiness or irritability. Additionally, some medications can reduce your milk production and may cause your baby not to gain enough weight.
Which medicines are prohibited to take when breastfeeding?
Amiodarone: This is used to treat arrhythmias. The drug is excreted in milk in large quantities. This may cause the baby to receive the medication through milk. This drug contains iodine (iodine) as a component that causes the baby to be born with hypothyroidism in addition to arrhythmias
Cyclophosphamide/cyclosporine/doxorubicin/methotrexate: These are used in the treatment of cancer. If the mother is receiving this drug, she should not breastfeed because these drugs can pass through the milk and may suppress the baby’s immune system. They can also suppress the child’s bone marrow.
Ergotamine and caffeine: Used to treat migraine. These drugs can be excreted in breast milk. The effects of ergotamine include vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures, as well as the suppression of milk production. Caffeine has not been found to cause harm. But if the mother uses it for a long time, it may also affect the child’s sleep.
Immunosuppressants: They may decrease the baby’s immune system.
Drugs in vitamin A acid group: Used to treat acne. Mothers who are breastfeeding should not use this group of drugs, because the drug can be excreted in breast milk and may cause the child to have back pain and liver problems.
Should I stop breastfeeding while taking medication?
It may not be safe to take certain drugs while breastfeeding. But if you need to take a medication that could be harmful to your baby, your doctor might recommend an alternative drug or advise you to breastfeed only when the medication is at a low level in your breast milk.
In some situations, your doctor might recommend that you stop breastfeeding for some time or even indefinitely — depending on the duration of the medication. If you’re aware in time, pump some breastmilk and store it before starting the medication.
Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (1 February 2019)