Most of what the mother takes in her body eventually appear in milk supply. That means the baby may end up taking the medication the mother is using. In some cases, it is harmless. However, it may go wrong when the child suffers from the side effects the drugs cause.
Babies are fragile, and their bodies are not a complete work. During their first stage, milk from mothers is their sole food. Any abnormal in milk supply may result in severe situations for the child.
Potential risks of taking medication while breastfeeding
Because of such mechanism, there are various risks to take medication when breastfeeding the baby. It may be temporary and will soon go away. However, it can also get severe and cause the damage that we can’t heal. Below are some threats of going on prescription while breastfeeding.
Lower milk supply
Some medications the mother suppress milk production. The baby doesn’t have milk for his/her need to grow properly. Of course, we can always use powdered milk as a substitute. However, those replacements can never be as good as a mother’s milk.
Breastfeeding is the best source of nutrition for babies
If the baby is allergic to any ingredients in the medication, the parents can soon see the allergic reactions. Even if the symptom doesn’t look dangerous, take the baby to the doctor. Babies are weak at those ages, so any abnormal sign can be dangerous.
The medication’s side effects
It is possible that the child will suffer from the side effects of the drug when they accidentally take in the mother’s medicine through milk supply. Since the baby can’t talk, any unusual reaction or sign after being fed when the mother is in prescription may indicate the side effect of the drug. In such case, go to a physician for advice as soon as possible.
Tips on taking medication while breastfeeding
Here are some tips mothers should keep in mind when they are breastfeeding and considering taking medicine.
Do you need to take medication?
The first ever question a mother should ask herself before taking any medication while breastfeeding her baby is “Is it necessary to take medication?”. For example, if you have a pain and are tempted to have a dose of Percocet, try other pain relief methods first. In some cases, Percocet can be harmful to the baby.
Is the medication safe for breastfeeding?
When you are breastfeeding your baby and really need to take medication for your health condition, inform the doctor of such information. Ask for his/her consultation of which drug is safe for breastfeeding. You should also read the description yourself to double check the medication.
Does your baby have any abnormal sign?
If you are on a prescription while breastfeeding, pay more attention to your baby. Continuously check if her/him have any unusual symptom like fever, breathing difficulty, skin redness, or skin tone change, etc. If you notice any abnormal happens to the baby, take her/him to the hospital for a checkup right away.
Be careful with medication while breastfeeding
Should you stop breastfeeding your baby to take medication?
If you have no choice but to take medication that may have a negative impact on your baby, you should stop breastfeeding. In that case, prepare substitute milk or food that provide the baby with enough nutritional value his/her need at that stage of life. It may slow down the growth of the child, but at least, you don’t risk his/her health taking in those medicines.
How long can you start breastfeeding your baby after stopping drug?
When you prepare to stop breastfeeding, ask the doctor when it is safe to resume after stopping the medication. Do not, in the wildest thought, think that you can start feeding your baby with your milk the next day after your stop taking medication. There will be the remnants of the drug in your blood and your milk for quite a while. It is necessary to wait until it is safe for your baby to drink from you again.
As a mother myself, I know when we have a child, he/she is our top priority. That’s why during my pregnancy and breastfeeding, I do my best to keep myself strong and healthy. When I feel sick, I try to cure it without using any medication first. If the harmless methods don’t work, I will go to the doctor for professional advice.
There will always be some unexpected situations that go beyond our control. When they happen, do not fight on your own, get your partner, your family and friends, and the doctor to help you. I hope some pieces of advice below have given you a general idea of taking medication during breastfeeding time.
Emma is the founder of ShrewdMommy, where she and associates blog about pregnancy advice, parenting insights, tips for mommy. Those experiences will somehow help you in your search for questions about pregnancy and baby tips. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook!