Breast feeding mothers also need to exercise caution when consuming medicines as anything that is taken in by Breastfeeding mothers is secreted in their breast milk. So what all do lactating / breastfeeding mothers need to be aware of?
- As a general rule, avoid drug therapy when possible. Any drugs taken in by mother will be secreted in your breast milk,
- Use topical treatment / natural remedies when possible. For example for post delivery pains / stitches, use methods like topical ointments, warm compression as far as possible instead of painkillers.
- Be more careful in early weeks of baby's birth or that of lactation (first 4 weeks )
- Do not use OTC ( Over The Counter ) medicines as these are not always safe.
- Greater precaution is required for the mothers of premature infants or babies not born with utmost health like underweight babies.
- Do not rely on unauthenticated or invalidated sources or hearsay. For any medication, check with your gynecologist and/or pediatrician
- Medicines which are safe in pregnancy are not always safe for Breast Feeding mothers
- In mothers having specific medical conditions like Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypothyroidism , Asthma, Allergic Rhinitis etc. extra and disease specific
- precautions are required .
- Medicines which are safe for use directly in infants are generally safe for lactating mother (for adult doses of course)
- Breast feeding done 4 hours after ingestion of a medicine will have less quantities passing in breast milk. So if a medicine needs to be taken, manage the timing of the medicine with the baby's feed.
- Remember : Medicines do not only secrete in mother's milk and are passed onto the infant, but medicines can dry the flow of milk itself in a baby. Hence Mothers need to be careful with medicines, even the common and seemingly safe ones.
For any specific medicine , always check with your Gynecologist / treating doctor and always inform the Doctor that you are breast feeding so they can be aware of the same and prescribe medicines accordingly.
Article written by Dr. Rajendra Midha, General Physician.