Breastfeeding A to Z

Medication & Drug Use When Breastfeeding

Do not take any medicine or over-the-counter product without discussing with your healthcare provider/pharmacist about how it effects pregnancy or breastfeeding.

If you have been asked to take any medicine, or you usually take medicine when you are not pregnant, the following sources can be helpful to check if the medicine is safe to use while you are breastfeeding.  Usually less medicine is available to your baby through breastmilk than it was to them during your pregnancy.  Usually, if you take medicine right after you have finished a feeding, the least amount will be present in the milk the next time you feed your baby–but this isn’t always the case. (1)

Again, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for help.  These resources may assist you and your pharmacist and/or healthcare provider to decide if a certain medicine or over-the-counter product is right for you during the time you are breastfeeding.


Medications & Mothers’ Milk  16th Edition, 2014, by Dr. Thomas W. Hale, and Hilary E Rowe.


Websites:  Dr. Thomas Hale, at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, does research on medications and their effect on pregnancy and breastfeeding. To assist you and your healthcare provider, the website provides information on medication/drug use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed)—This is a peer-reviewed and fully referenced database of drugs and that relates to breastfeeding women. The database includes information on the level of drugs found in the mom and baby’s system, a drug’s possible effects on breastfed baby, a drug’s impact on breastmilk supply, and possible alternate drugs to consider.   Dr. Jack Newman’s website—type “medication” into search box in upper right-hand corner of website.


  1. Lawrence, RA, Lawrence, RM, Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Professional, 7th edition, Maryland   Heights, MO, Elsevier Mosby, 2011, p 373.