Medications and Breastfeeding

Did you know that many medications are safe to take while breastfeeding? If you were prescribed a medication and you’re not sure if it’s breastfeeding compatible, here’s what you can do. First, you can call the Infant Risk Center with your prescription information handy. You can reach the Infant Risk hotline by calling 806-352-2519. Alternatively, you can go to the infant risk website: https://www.infantrisk.com/

You can also go to the following website and type in your prescription drug name. This website can also give you some reliable insight on the safety of taking the medication while breastfeeding. http://www.e-lactancia.org/

Even if the medication you are taking is compatible with breastfeeding, it’s always a good practice to nurse or pump first, right before your dose. This can help limit your baby’s exposure to the drug. Depending on the half life of the drug, some/most or all of the medication can be out of your milk before your next feeding. There’s usually no need to pump and dump since medications don’t stay in your milk. They metabolize out of your breastmilk at the same rate it is metabolized out of the blood.

If the medication you’re prescribed is not compatible with breastfeeding, ask your doctor to prescribe an alternative medication that is safe. Most of the time, it’s an easy switch to accomplish the same therapeutic outcome. As always, advocate for yourself. If your doctor is unsure if a medication is safe while breastfeeding, call infant risk or use the lactancia website above to confirm.

As an LC, I use the book Hale’s Medications and Mothers Milk to look up meds for my clients. It’s a very reputable book in the field of lactation and very reliable. It’s a little pricey so that’s why I typically recommend using the free resources I listed above. But if you’re a mom who takes medications or supplements regularly, it’s a great book to have or app to download!

Lastly, talk to your doctor and see if medication is necessary at all. Many times illnesses heal with time, rest and a healthy diet without the need for medication. Many meds are safe while breastfeeding but to remove all risk to your baby, it may be worth it to skip them all together, at least while you’re still breastfeeding.

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