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Taking Medicines while breastfeeding

It is not unusual for nursing mums to need medicines while breast-feeding. Taking medicines while breast-feeding, is not necessarily going to be harmful to your child but when you breast feed there is a possibility that some of the drug that you take could pass into the breast milk and be transferred to your child. Therefore, if you do need to take medicines while breast feeding, it is important to have an understanding of the medicines that can be used and which ones should be avoided. These include medicines prescribed by your doctor, medicines bought from your Pharmacy (over the counter) or supplements from a Health food store.

In general there is limited research into medicines and breast-feeding. Drug companies are not obliged to produce data on the safety of their medicines with breast-feeding. This is mainly because it is not ethical to expose breast fed babies unnecessarily to medicine. However, advice can be given based on the information available and a Pharmacist may also be able assess the safety of a medication and the potential for it to be continued in a patient who breast feeds, or provide advice on its safe use.

See: breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/../drugs-in-breastmilk

Before you start

Before you take any medicines it is important to seek advice to find out:

  • If you actually need to take the medicine
  • If it is safe to take the medicine while breast feeding
  • If there are any steps you can take to prevent your child being exposed unnecessarily to a medicine from breastfeeding.

If you do take medicines while breast feeding it is important to report if your baby is affected in any way after you have started taking the medicine. For example, if you have been prescribed a sedative medicine your baby may be more sleepy. If you have any concerns do not hesitate to ask your Doctor, Midwife or Pharmacist about the safe use of medicines while breast-feeding.

The links below are for some commonly purchased medicines. These medicines are presented in groups according to their use and will help you to choose appropriate medicines to prevent any harm to you or your child.




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