Talk to your doctor before taking any prescription or
nonprescription medicine while breast-feeding. Some medicines that enter the breast
milk may harm your baby. But many medicines are safe to use while
breast-feeding, including certain pain relievers, antibiotics, antidepressants,
anticoagulants, and endocrine medicines (such as insulin). Consider the
following before taking medicines while breast-feeding:
Use the safest medicine available. Some
medicines have alternatives that are safer for breast-feeding mothers. Ask
for the medicine that produces the lowest, safest levels of the drug in
Avoid using long-acting forms of nonprescription
medicines. Medicine levels may build up quickly in the
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the best time to take
your medicine to minimize the effect on your baby. This is often just after a
Watch for medicine side effects in your infant. Tell your doctor about any fussiness, rash, changes in feeding or sleeping patterns, or other concerns.
Talk to your doctor about temporarily discontinuing
breast-feeding if you must take a medicine that is not safe for your baby. If
you are going to take this medicine in a single dose or for a relatively
short time (1 or 2 weeks), bottle-feed formula to your baby, but keep up your
milk supply by pumping your breasts and discarding the milk. When the
medicine has left your system, you can go back to breast-feeding your
By Ann Hodgman
One woman's diary
I said to my daughter, "You know what I just can't stand about this
book? The long passages with no dialogue." -
She paused, then said, "Mom, are there any books you like
Now it was my turn to pause. How could she ask that, when everyone knows how
much I love to read? But then again, when had I last complimented a book — even
one I admired? Come to think of it, how often did I say anything without a
negative twist? I don't want my tombstone...
Although domperidone is available in some countries for intestinal
problems, this medicine is not approved for any use in the United States.
Domperidone can increase a breast-feeding woman's milk supply. For this reason,
some women obtain the medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
warns breast-feeding women not to take domperidone because of its potential
dangerous side effects (such as irregular heartbeat and sudden death). Also,
the drug has unknown effects on the breast-feeding infant.1
Some breast-feeding women try herbal remedies for problems, such as
to increase milk supply. Common herbs used for these purposes include
fenugreek, fennel, or various herbal teas. As with any medicines, do not take
herbs without first talking with your doctor. The effects of
most herbal remedies on babies are unknown. Some experts advise that some herbs
(including fenugreek, fennel, comfrey leaf, and borage) may harm the baby.
Herbs may also cause allergic reactions in the mother or the baby.
With herbal teas or preparations, even more caution is needed,
because the strength of an herbal tea or product depends upon how it is
prepared. The actual amount of an herb consumed is very hard to predict or
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 12, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this