Natural Parenting Toolbox: Breastfeeding and Medications

Here is a brief rundown on commonly taken drugs and their safety for breastfeeding infants:

  • Pain Killers: Acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) are safe to use occasionally. Long-acting nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as naproxen (Aleve) should be avoided.
  • Antihistimines: Choose non-sedating antihistamines (such as Claritin and Zyrtec). Avoid pseudoephedrine (used in many cold remedies) because it may suppress milk production. For seasonal allergies, ask your health care provider about using a steroidal nasal spray (such as Flonase). These are not as easily absorbed into your system as other forms of steroids.
  • Antibiotics: Almost all are safe for breastfeeding mothers to use, except for the Cipro family and sulfonamides. Very rarely, an infant might display a mild allergic reaction (in the form of a rash, diarrhea, or thrush) to penicillin or another antibiotic.
  • Antidepressants: Zoloft is probably the best choice, if you need to take an antidepressant. So far, studies have shown no ill effects on nursing infants. Prozac is not a good choice, sincecolic, vomiting, poor sleep, and even coma have been reportedly associated with this drug.
  • Steroids: Oral prednisone does not seem to transfer into milk and is probably safe, unless the dosage level is extremely high. Check with your health care provider.