Breastfeeding and medication

Erica Post

medic-pillen.jpgAre you a breastfeeding mother needing or using medication? Or do you want to breastfeed and are you wondering if this is possible in combination with the medication your are using? Often mothers are wrongly advised to stop breastfeeding or advised not to start. boek-hale2008.jpgIt’s often not easy for you to find out if the use of a medicament can be combined with breastfeeding. Doctors are often not informed right or well enough. And a medication insert doesn’t help you much further. Your medical adviser will rather tell you not to start breastfeeding, when he is not sure about the influence of the medication on the quality of your milk and on your baby who is drinking your milk. More often than necessary mothers are advised not to breastfeed when using a drug. Doctors don’t like to take any risks when they are not sure about the influence of the medication on the quality of your milk and the effect on your baby that is drinking your milk. Reed on and check Thomas Hale’s medication list, containing more than six hundred drugs and describing their influence on mother’s milk and the baby. There is a big chance that you can start or keep on feeding your baby during your own treatment.

Safe advice

Medication inserts and the ‘Repertorium’ (NL) or the ‘Farmacotherapeutisch Kompas’ (NL) too often advise to stop breastfeeding. For the producers of drugs this is a safe advice, which is mainly mend to protect their reputation. It has nothing to do with what is best for the breastfeeding mother and her child. Mothers often stop breastfeeding because of these safety advices from doctors and producers. These negative ‘side effects’ of formula as well as the positive influences of breastfeeding are well known but unfortunately too often neglected when advising a mother in need of a drug. It would be better if the doctor could find a safe drug that will cure the mother and allow her and her child to continue enjoying breastfeeding.

Concentrations of medication in mothers’ milk

Newer technologies have enabled us to find even the smallest traces of medication in milk. But the fact that medication can be found in the milk doesn’t necessarily mean that this is a danger for the baby drinking the milk.
  • The influence of the medication or parts of it have to do with more than one factor. Here are a few important ones:
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  • The concentration of the medication in the milk.
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  • The amount of milk a baby drinks.
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  • The gastric acid durability of the medication.
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  • The amount of absorption from the gastrointestinal channel of the baby and the possibility of passing through the liver and the plasma concentration in the child.
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  • The kind of medication.
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  • The response can differ depending on the age of the breastfed child.
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  • Medication can also influence the quality and quantity of milk.

Make a well grounded choice

To make a good choice about the use of a certain medication doctors and mothers need the right information. A good pharmacist, who is willing to use other information than the ‘Repertorium’ (NL) or the ‘Farmacotherpeutisch Kompas’ (NL), can help to make a good choice based on the wish to breastfeed, the need of medication for the mother and the option of alternative medication choice. Check the literature and the medication list for mothers and professionals and other sources named here. Hand it over to your doctor and/or pharmacologist.

Reading more & literature

The book of Thomas Hale


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