Medications- A Quick Guide for Parents

One of the most common questions that mothers ask their health care providers is- “Can I safely take medication while breastfeeding?”  Sometimes mothers are told that they cannot continue breastfeeding while taking a certain medication. Some are told to wean, or to “pump and dump” for a certain number of days.

According to Dr. Thomas Hale, author of Medications and Mother’s Milk 2017, “most drugs do not enter milk in levels that are hazardous to a breastfed infant.” However, it is important to check reliable sources for up-to-date research-based information.

Many health care providers rely on the package insert of the medication that they are prescribing. The package insert almost always cautions against prescribing the medication to pregnant or lactating mothers. However, there are many reliable resources for finding more accurate answers.

Weaning, or stopping breastmilk even temporarily has a downside. Formula is known to have its own health risks. Temporary weaning while pumping can cause a great deal of stress and discomfort for both mother and baby. Mother’s milk supply may decrease, and/or her baby may not return to breastfeeding after receiving bottles. Research rarely recommends weaning. Listed below are some websites that offer more reliable information for parents and health care providers. Before weaning or stopping breastfeeding temporarily, seek more information. La Leche League Leaders are not medical providers and cannot give medical advice. Many Areas have Professional Liaison Leaders who have access to more medication information that may be shared with Leaders and parents. You can find your local Leaders through the “Get Help” section of our website.

In Spanish and English:
www.e-lactancia.org

Australia:
https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/drugs-in-breastfeeding-5

Belgium-Flanders/ Netherlands:
https://cybele.be/

Canada:
https://www.pharmacists.ca/education-practice-resources/patient-care/breastfeeding-resources/

France:
https://lecrat.fr
LLL France documents sur les médicaments:
•les Coins du prescripteur et la compil des CDP   “Médicaments et allaitement – compilation des coins du prescripteur”. Édition 2016, en vente sur la boutique
• Dossiers de l’Allaitement, spécial hors-série 5ème JIA – La prescription de médicaments chez les mères allaitantes – Thomas Hale
• Feuillet Comment choisir un traitement pour une femme allaitante (Dr Jack Newman)
• Petit mémo des médicaments chez la mère allaitante
• DA n° 62 – Médicaments et allaitement
• DA, spécial hors-série 5ème JIA – La prescription de médicaments chez les mères allaitantes – Thomas Hale
• Feuillet Comment choisir un traitement pour une femme allaitante (Dr Jack Newman)
• Petit mémo des médicaments chez la mère allaitante
– hors LLL nous avons le CRAT et les Centre de pharmacovigilance

Germany:
http://embryotox.de/einfuehrung.html

New Zealand:
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/life-stages/breastfeeding/health-practitioners/medications-and-breastfeeding

UK:
https://www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk/drugs-factsheets
https://www.facebook.com/BfNDrugsinBreastmilkinformation/

USA:
Dr. Hales’ Infant Risk Hotline and Website- https://www.infantrisk.com/
Lactmed, US National Institutes of Health’s Drugs and Lactation Database https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm