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Breastfeeding and Medicines

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Throughout your pregnancy, you have been careful about taking medications; you still have to be a little cautious about taking pills as long as you are breastfeeding your little one.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

A small percentage of your medicines passes into your baby through breast milk and may harm the baby or reduce lactation. It is always better to consult your doctor before taking any drug.

Only those medicines that were taken by you during pregnancy and the ones prescribed for your infant by the doctor are the safest while you are nursing the baby.

Medicines Considered Safe during Breastfeeding

You can minimise the drug entry into your child’s system by choosing the lowest dose, taking alternative medicines, taking maternal dose immediately after you have breast fed your baby and relying more on inhalations rather than oral drugs.

  • For fever and body aches, paracetamol and ibuprofen are the safest. Aspirin must be avoided.
  • Try and treat your mild cough and cold with steam inhalations, linctuses and honey, gargles, etc.
  • For allergies, few antihistamines can be taken orally in low doses. Inhalers can be used.
  • Among antibiotics taken for infections, erythromycin and penicillin derivatives (e.g. amoxicillin) are safe.
  • Skin ointments, inhalers, eye drops, local anaesthesia and dental treatments are safe during breast feeding.

Medicines Not to be Taken while Breastfeeding

  • Pain killers like aspirin and codeine (morphine-based) are not to be taken by breastfeeding moms. Anti-allergic medicines containing phenylephrine and cough 
    drugs with guaifenesin as an expectorant must be avoided during this period. Contraceptive pills with a combination of oestrogen–progesterone may interfere 
    with lactation.

If any type of side-effect is observed in your child after taking medication, report to the doctor immediately.

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