Medications and Breastfeeding

Most medications are safe in breastfeeding but a few are not. It is rare that a woman needs to stop breastfeeding in order to take a drug.

Nonetheless, sometimes doctors are not completely familiar with the most current information on medications and breastfeeding. If you are unsure, please refer to either Thomas Hale’s book, Medications and Mothers’ Milk, last updated in 2019, or to the Drugs and Lactation Database, LactMed, by the National Institute of Health (this is available online).

Medications and Mothers’ Milk is considered by many people to be the most complete and authoritative resource. Hospitals and doctors’ offices should have access to this book, which is available in paperback and updated frequently.

LactMed, like Hale, discusses medications in detail, and discusses the research known about each drug. While some drugs are listed by both their brand names and generic names, many are only listed by their generic names. Likewise LactMed does not have a clear rating system, like Hale, and it is up to the reader to determine safety.

Another helpful resource is the Texas Tech University Health Services InfantRisk Center, which is a leading research center for medication and safety during pregnancy and lactation. It has a hotline and an app available.

The InfantRisk Center hotline is available for questions about over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications and nursing. It’s hours are Monday-Friday 8am-5 pm Central Time. The phone number is 1 (806) 352-2519.

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