Breastfeeding Safe Medications

By: Women's Care Staff

Breastfeeding is a special way to bond with your newborn. Many health benefits exist when you breastfeed your child as well. Not only can breastmilk help strengthen your baby’s immune system, but it can also help you slim down following childbirth. However, when you breastfeed your child, it’s essential to keep breastfeeding safe medications in mind. What you consume can get passed to your baby through breast milk. That’s why it’s important to avoid things like alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine throughout the breastfeeding phase.

The same rule applies to drugs and medications. While most medicines are safe to take when you’re breastfeeding, others have adverse health effects on you or your baby. Even if you safely took certain drugs while pregnant, they can have a different effect when breastfeeding.

Consult with your physician or child’s pediatrician before taking drugs of any kind. This includes both over-the-counter and prescription drugs. To learn more about what medications are safe to take while breastfeeding, make an appointment with Women’s Care today.

Today, the long-term effects certain medications have on your baby when breastfeeding remain unknown. For this reason, try to take medications only when completely necessary. In addition, limit yourself to the lowest recommended dose for the shortest amount of time. This can help lower the risk of severe side effects on both you and your baby.

Use short-acting vs. long-acting medications

Your body eliminates certain types of medications relatively quickly. When possible, ask your doctor to prescribe short-acting medications. Also, ask about alternative treatments if long-acting medications are your only option.

When taking short-acting meds, take them immediately following a nursing session. That way the drugs can leave your system before the next nursing session. On the other hand, take long-acting meds just before your baby’s longest nap or sleep session to lower the risk for adverse side effects significantly.

Monitor your baby for reactions

After taking medications of any kind, monitor your baby closely to look for unusual responses. These include extreme irritability or drowsiness, skin rashes, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive crying. Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if you notice one or more of these symptoms after initial exposure through breastfeeding.

Consider expressed storing breast milk

If your physician prescribes a long-acting drug or a drug that could cause harm, consider storing your milk supply until the medication completely leaves your system. Consult your doctor about how long certain medications will take to leave your body. Additionally, if you need any help with expressing, ask for assistance from a lactation consultant.

Talk to your doctor before starting birth control

Certain types of birth control pills with high doses of estrogen can decrease your milk supply. This interferes with breastfeeding. Consult your doctor before starting birth control to confirm the medication you take will not affect breastfeeding in any way. Alternatively, consider using condoms, a diaphragm, or another birth control method that won’t interfere with your milk supply.

Want to learn more about breastfeeding and its health benefits for you and baby? The board-certified physicians at Women’s Care offer comprehensive obstetrical services and are dedicated to providing the gold-star standard in women’s healthcare. Contact WCF to schedule an appointment and to learn more about how we can help you and your baby.

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