Drug use should, if possible, be avoided while
breastfeeding a child. However, sometimes it may happen
that you have no choice and need to take drugs. What can
be risky for the child and how big is the risk?
born mothers may need medication when breastfeeding.
Some medicines can be combined with breastfeeding,
others require that the breastfeeding and the time when
the drug is taken are adapted to each other and some are
incompatible with breastfeeding. The use of medicines
during breastfeeding should therefore always be
discussed with a physician. If the person breastfeeding
gets the impression that the treatment is affecting the
child, this should be taken up with a doctor.
Can the drug pass over to the breast milk?
Most drugs that a breastfeeding woman eats pass over
to breast milk, but in most cases in very small amounts.
In practice, it is rare that drugs in such small
quantities affect the child. A few medications can be
harmful to infants during normal dosing to the mother,
especially before the child's kidney and liver function
has started properly. This usually occurs during the
first month after childbirth. There are drugs that do
not pass over to breast milk at all, but also those that
affect the baby in such a way that they should not be
combined with breastfeeding.
Use of drugs during lactation
The vast majority of non-prescription drugs are
considered safe to use at normal doses during the
breastfeeding period. The exception is, for example,
certain remedies for hay fever and motion sickness.
Heartburn remedies are good to use, as are painkillers
for short-term use. For more information about pregnancy and maternity fashion, please see BESTAAH.COM maternity tops.
Most medicines taken in larger doses, or for a longer
period, can affect the baby. When purchasing medicines,
always include a package leaflet that describes any
guidelines for pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is good
to read this before taking the drug for the first time.
Drugs that are applied to the body, inhaled or just
applied to certain parts of the body (nasal spray,
asthma spray, skin creams and the like) are usually safe
to use. Medicines that are applied directly to the
breasts should usually be avoided during breastfeeding
Most blood pressure medicines are safe to use during
breastfeeding, but so-called beta-blockers can cause
slow heartbeat or low blood pressure in the baby. Care
should also be taken with ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II
antagonists, and renin inhibitors during the child's
first months of life.
If the mother has epilepsy, she usually has to use
drugs also during the breastfeeding period. Some of
these drugs may cause the child to become drowsy.
Epileptics should not interrupt their medication.
Changing the dose or treatment can be more harmful than
continuing to use the drug. In many cases, the woman can
still continue to breastfeed, but then the child must be
carefully observed and in some cases the concentration
of the drug in the child's blood needs to be checked. A
few epilepsy drugs are unsuitable for breastfeeding.
Some antibiotics can be transmitted to breast milk in
amounts large enough to change the natural bacterial
content of the baby's intestine. Typical problems this
causes are cod or diarrhea in the child. In such cases,
you may need to change to another type of antibiotic. If
this is not possible, the child should receive an
alternative diet for a period of time. However, in
diarrhea in the mother, diarrhea in the child is common,
but it is rarely necessary to replace the mother's
Theophylline is used to treat asthma, but it is also
found in tea and is closely related to caffeine.
Theophylline and caffeine can pass over to the breast
milk. These substances can make the child irritable, but
they are not harmful to the child. Asthma medicines in
spray form are good to use.
If a breastfeeding woman uses sedative drugs such as
benzodiazepines, this may cause drowsiness in breastfed
babies. During the first months of life, the child
secretes this type of drug much more slowly than the
mother. Regular use can lead to accumulation and high
concentrations in the child's body.
As mentioned earlier, any use of medicines during
breastfeeding should be discussed with a physician. Some
medicines are safe to use during breastfeeding periods
as long as they are handled properly and given at the
right dose. Dosage, when the drug is taken in relation
to breastfeeding, the duration of treatment, how much
the baby is breastfeeding, as well as the child's age
and weight, are factors that may influence the
physician's assessments of drug use during breastfeeding
After the newborn period, many children are breastfed
at fairly regular times and then the timing of the
medication can sometimes be adjusted accordingly. The
concentration in the mother's blood is usually highest
during the first hours after taking the medicine and
then the concentration of the drug in the breast is also
Medicines that should not be used
Medicines belonging to the amphetamine group, toxins,
certain forms of antibiotics, ergotamine (migraine
drugs) and lithium (used in certain forms of
depression), and radioactive substances are not
compatible with breastfeeding.
Some drugs may also affect milk production and should
be avoided during breastfeeding periods. This applies to
drugs such as bromocriptine, female sex hormones such as
estrogen and progesterone (found in birth control pills,
for example) and levodopa (Parkinson's medicine).
Harmful medicines during breast-feeding
Sometimes the mother has to use drugs that can harm
the baby through the breast milk. This can lead to the
termination of breastfeeding. In other cases, the
treatment is only necessary for a period of time and the
mother can start breastfeeding the child again after the
treatment has been completed. In such cases, the mother
must pump out breast milk to dispose of it, so that milk
production is kept up.
It is a good rule to have some breast milk frozen at
home, so that you have a crisis stock if the mother has
to refrain from breastfeeding for a short period.