Breastfeeding and Medication


Prescription MedsBack when I was pregnant, my sister and I were chatting about medication and breastfeeding, and how when you are recovering from birth,it seemed strange that the meds used are considered ‘safe’ to use while breastfeeding  when you’re recovering from pregnancy but not once you are recovered. Then it’s generally considered taboo to take many, if any medications. Just look at the back of any over-the-counter drug and you’ll always see the disclaimer:  “If pregnant or breastfeeding ask a health professional before use.” Even on something as benign as Milk of Magnesia.  That’s enough to tip the anxiety scales in most mom circles. All the research she did from her book, From The Hips, told us that it was basically a risk/benefit ratio. When you have surgery, you shouldn’t be required to suffer more than necessary and risk not breastfeeding at all.  So, take the drugs.  I did. However, I didn’t end up needing much, and not for that long.

Ok, so now that I’m past this and Fuzz is twelve weeks, how about drugs now? I’m currently experiencing a fair amount of pain in my neck from sleeping with my arm over my head while nursing Fuzzball. I’m mostly using non-medical treatments. I got a massage (yay), I have a TENS machine, and I’m making a chiropractor appointment pronto. But, I’m still suffering pretty badly. I need to know what I can take and how much. We’re told that it’s not safe to take most drugs, but how can we know why, and how much of the drug is really getting into our baby?

A friend of mine was recently told she had to pump and dump for a week and use stored milk or formula-feed while she was on multiple very strong antibiotics. She was really upset about it and worried that after that long, her baby might self-wean anyway. She wasn’t ready to stop. However, then she called her pediatrician who researched each drug and said it was fine, as long as she gave her baby (eight months old) some probiotics to protect and restore the flora in her system. For her own peace of mind she did some more research and found this site.

Here you can research a drug and how much it affects the milk and the baby by dose, and how it compares to the infant doses of the medicines as well. Obviously, you should always check with your doctor, but this seems like a good resource to calm overly anxious moms (like myself) when dealing with medication.

Photo Credit: Charles Williams/Flickr