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FAQ Frequently asked questions
Do I need to stop breastfeeding to take medication?
It is very unusual to have to stop breastfeeding permanently. In some cases, breastfeeding may be put on hold temporarily while you take certain medications.
Do I need to stop taking my normal medication while I am breastfeeding?
This depends on the condition and the specific medication being used, but avoiding medications altogether may actually cause harm to the mother and her baby if an underlying condition goes untreated.
What medication is not safe to take while breastfeeding?
Some medications that are not suitable for nursing mothers include amiodarone, cytotoxic agents, iodine, lithium, nuclear medicine, and retinoids.
Can I take herbal supplements while breastfeeding?
There may be chemical substances in herbal supplements that could harm your baby, so herbal supplements are not recommended during breastfeeding.
How will I know what medication is safe to take?
Your healthcare provider and pharmacist can offer guidance on medication dosages and their suitability for breastfeeding.
How will I know if my baby has a reaction to the medication?
When using medication, you can monitor your baby for changes in their sleeping patterns, their mood and level of alertness, or any rashes appearing on their skin.
Can I take pain-relief medication while breastfeeding?
Most over-the-counter pain-relief medication is considered safe to take while breastfeeding.
If my baby was premature, are they at more risk when I take medication while breastfeeding?
Premature babies are at greater risk of exposure to medication while breastfeeding, as are unwell babies and babies younger than six months of age.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 15 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Votes: 1273 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Medication and breastfeeding