IS THIS MEDICATION OR HERB SAFE WHILE BREASTFEEDING??
That is one of the most common calls I answer from a nursing parent. I often remind her of these four basic questions. I also ask that she inform herself more with several of the links I include here, that she check with her baby’s pediatrician for information on how the medication she wants to take may impact her baby, to consider her health and other medical options and to weigh the risks of weaning. Some medications are well known to impact milk supply. Some over-the-counter options are far riskier than some prescriptions so it is important to understand this as well. Some “natural” products are great while others are dangerous during pregnancy or lactation.
- Will the drug/herb affect my baby?
- Will the drug/herb affect lactation?
- What are the risks of weaning?
- What are the options?
Please discuss with your health care provider and your child’s health care provider the specifics of your situation. La Leche League has long had information on medication while breastfeeding for mothers. They have some good tips and questions for consideration in the ones I have listed below. Know that what one mom feels comfortable taking while nursing, another doesn’t. This is why having good information for a choice is so important to me. There may be a much larger risk to the baby to wean than to take most medications.
Consider if you can take an alternative, if you need to take the medication at all, if the medication can be delayed, and so on.
** My doctor has prescribed a medication for me. Is it safe for me to continue breastfeeding my baby while I take the medicine?
** Medications and Breastfeeding
Medications and the Breastfeeding Mother – LEAVEN article for Leaders
Dr Thomas W. Hale is a clinical pharmacologist, professor at Texas Tech University School of Medicine, and author of Medications and Mothers’ Milk. – See more at: http://www.ibreastfeeding.com/thomas-w-hale-phd#sthash.NPe2fhQG.dpuf
His work has lead to the wonderful Infant Risk Center and it is a well respected option for information on medical questions.
** Drug Entry into Human Milk
LactMed, a FREE online database with information on drugs and lactation. I often refer moms there so they can empower themselves on basic medications.
LactMed – Toxnet database
LactMed app is FREE!!
Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition
Depression and New Mothers:
“Although there is some risk associated with antidepressant use, the risk of untreated depression may be even greater. And all risks and benefits must be carefully weighed for each mother.” – See more at: http://www.infantrisk.com/content/antidepressant-usage-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding#sthash.AYzSww1o.dpuf
PPD handouts and information
Dental work and breastfeeding – Kelly Mom
Nonprescription Drugs for the Breastfeeding Mother
Frank Nice, RPh, DPA, CPHP
Medications and Mother’s Milk (comes out every two years)
Dr. Thomas Hale
The Nursing Mother’s Herbal
Sheila Humphrey, BSc, RN, IBCLC
For consideration if weaning is the only option:
Know that it is very rare that weaning is the only option. Some moms will find they have a small window to in which they need to stop nursing but typically it is a few hours and not a few days. Then there are situations such as cancer or other emergencies that will require longer term or full ending to nursing. Moms feelings around weaning need to be respected. I never try to push a mom to keep nursing when the mom doesn’t feel that is an option. The best way a baby can be cared for is by a healthy mom, both physically and emotionally.
There will be some weaning sadness on the part of both the mom and the baby. Don’t be afraid to honor that as you find a new way to transition. Enlist support people around to you take on some of the care of your little one or you while you heal but in a way that honors the gentle way you have been parenting when possible.
And if you feel depressed at any time during the weaning process, please talk to your support people around you…family, friends and medical team. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/26/weaning-depression-link-breastfeeding-postpartum-depression_n_1301233.html
I hope these links help empower you to make the best choice for your health and that of your baby’s.