Is It Safe To Take Painkillers While Breastfeeding?

Painkillers While Breastfeeding

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Are you scared of taking painkillers? Do you fear the consequences that the medicines might transfer to your baby while breastfeeding?

Your decision to start breastfeeding clearly depicts your choice of providing a healthy lifestyle to your baby. During the phase right after you give birth and start breastfeeding, your body goes through many changes. Your body would be still healing from the after effects of pregnancy. It is natural for you to experience some discomfort during this stage.

Most women choose to stay away from medication of any sort when they are breastfeeding. However, there are some instances where you cannot do without a painkiller to ease the pain. But is it okay to have painkillers when breastfeeding? Read on to know more.

Do Medicines Actually Pass Into The Breast Milk?

Any medicine or drug that is present in your blood stream will pass into your breast milk. This will be to some extent and the level of medication in the breast milk is marginal. How

ever, there are certain drugs that tend to accumulate in the breast milk. Therefore it is extremely important that you know which drugs are suitable to consume while breast feeding.

What Can I Do If I Absolutely Need To Take A Painkiller?

Of course there may be situations when you absolutely need to take a painkiller when breastfeeding.

  • Your doctor will be the best guide in this matter. You need to ensure your doctor is aware that you are a breast feeding your baby. This information will help your doctor in writing a prescription that is safe and tailored to you.
  • In case you are taking painkillers while breastfeeding, ensure you feed your baby just before taking the medication. This will help reduce your baby’s exposure to that particular drug.
  • Whatever medicine you take should only be prescribed by your doctor. Under no circumstance is it okay to take over-the-counter drugs.

What Painkillers Can You Take When Breastfeeding?

There are two painkillers that are considered safe while breastfeeding. According to the American Academy of Paediatrics, the following two pain killers are considered safe to be consumed while breast feeding (1):

1. Ibuprofen:

This is used to treat a number of ailments and to combat pain. It is considered safer while breast feeding due to its low amounts measured in breast milk.

2. Acetaminophen:

This is taken on its own or is found as part of cold or flu medications. The American Academy of Paediatrics and the World Health Organisation Working Group on Drugs and Human Lactation have found it to be safe if consumed while breast feeding.

What Are The Medicines That Are Okay To Be Taken While Breastfeeding?

As recommended by most doctors, it is always better to try and avoid situations that require you to consume a painkiller. If you are aware of something triggering a reaction, try and avoid it as much as possible.

However, if you absolutely must, here are a few drugs that are considered okay to take if prescribed by your doctor (2). Do remember that different countries and states within them have different predefined restrictions on medicines. Ensure these medicines are considered safe in your area. Your doctor will be able to direct you accordingly:

  • Paracetamol – is considered safe if prescribed by your doctor. Brand names may include Panadol, Dymadon and Panamx.
  • Aspirin – may be safe if taken occasionally but not as a regular practice.
  • Creams and sprays that are used for muscular pain relief.
  • Ibuprofen – only in low doses.
  • Diclofenac – only in low doses.
  • Imidazole nasal spray decongestants like Sinex and Otrivin.
  • Medication containing loratadine such as Claratyne.
  • Nasal sprays like budesonide found in Rhinocort.
  • Nasal sprays like beclomethasone found in Aldecin and Beconase.

What Are The Medicines That Should Be Completely Avoided While Breastfeeding?

Make sure you avoid the following completely while you are breast feeding (3):

  • Mefenamic acid – can be found in Ponstan.
  • Indomethacin – example is Indoicid.
  • Tablets containing pseudoephedrine such as Sudafed.
  • Tablets containing phenylephrine such as Demazin.
  • Gargles containing povidone-iodine such as Betadine and Viodine.

It is true that once you have delivered your baby and are breast feeding, you are susceptible to a number of infections and ailments. However, if possible, do try and avoid situations that may trigger such conditions or make it worse.

Try and avoid pain killers as much as possible. Instead, use natural preventive measures and speak to your doctor regularly. Remember that no over-the-counter drug is safe even if someone tells you it is. Any medication you take while breast feeding should only be prescribed by your doctor.

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