It’s important for nursing mothers to be aware of the potential risks the medications they are taking may have on their breastfeeding babies. Just as some medications should be avoided while pregnant, there are medications that should be avoided while breastfeeding.
It’s important to remember that drugs transfer into milk if they;
- Are highly lipid soluble.
- Achieve high concentrations in the mother’s plasma.
- Have low molecular weight.
- Are low in protein binding.
- Pass through the blood-brain barrier easily.
- Avoid using medications, herbs and supplements when possible.
- Most drugs whose relative infant dose is less than 10% are considered “generally safe.”
- Choose drugs which have published information about the affects on infants, rather than newly introduced drugs with limited information available.
- Evaluate the infant for possible risk factors before taking a medication, such as prematurity or other chronic health problems.
- Remember, most drugs are safe while breastfeeding. The risks associated with most drugs are far less than the risks associated with artificial milks.
- When possible, choose drugs with short half-lives, high molecular weights, and high protein binding.
- Find out the level of the drug you are taking. (L1: Safest, L2: Safer, L3: Moderately Safe, L4: Possibly Hazardous, L5: Contraindicated)