Medicines and Nursing Mothers
Most medications have not been tested in nursing women, so no one knows exactly how a given drug will affect a breast-fed child. Since very few problems have been reported, however, most over-the-counter and prescription drugs, taken in moderation and only when necessary, are considered safe. Even mothers who must take daily medication for conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, or high blood pressure can usually breast-feed.
They should first check with the child’s pediatrician, however. To minimize the baby’s exposure, the mother can take the drug just after nursing or before the child sleeps. In the January 1994 issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics included the following in a list of drugs that are usually compatible with breast-feeding:
- many antibiotics
- anti-epileptics (although one, Primidone, should be given with caution)
- most antihistamines
- alcohol in moderation (large amounts of alcohol can cause drowsiness, weakness, and abnormal weight gain in an infant)
- most antihypertensives
- aspirin (should be used with caution)
- caffeine (moderate amounts in drinks or food)
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