What medications are safe to take while breast-feeding?
With your health care provider's input, consider this list of medications found to be safe during breast-feeding. Keep in mind that this isn't a comprehensive list of safe medications.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)
- Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others)
- Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn, others) — short-term use only
- Fluconazole (Diflucan)
- Miconazole (Monistat 3, Micaderm, others)
- Clotrimazole (Mycelex, Lotrimin, others)
- Penicillins (amoxicillin, ampicillin, others)
- Cephalosporins (Keflex, Duricef, others)
- Loratadine (Claritin, Alavert, others)
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
- Saline nasal drops
- Medications containing pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Zyrtec D, others) — use with caution because pseudoephedrine can decrease milk supply
Birth control pills
- Progestin-only contraceptives, such as the minipill
New research suggests that combination birth control pills, oral contraceptives that contain estrogen and a progestin, don't affect milk production. Still, consider waiting until breast-feeding is firmly established — about six to eight weeks — before using this type of birth control pill.
- Famotidine (Pepcid)
- Omeprazole (Prilosec)
- Cimetidine (Tagamet)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
Do I need my health care provider's OK ahead of time?
If you plan to take medication while breast-feeding, it's always best to check with your health care provider first.
Avoid taking medications that aren't necessary, such as herbal medications, high-dose vitamins and unusual supplements.
Also ask about the timing. For example, taking medication immediately after breast-feeding might help minimize your baby's exposure. However, different drugs peak in breast milk at different times.
What if my baby has a reaction?
When you're taking medication, be sure to watch your baby for any unusual signs or symptoms — such as a change in eating or sleeping habits, fussiness or a rash. If you notice any change in your baby's behavior, contact his or her doctor.
July 26, 2012
See more In-depth
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