Ask for Guidance "Many over-the-counter drugs are safe for nursing moms, but because of the abundance of OTC choices, you should check with her pharmacist or M.D. before taking anything," says Kelly A. Hightower, R.N., a certified lactation counselor and owner of Bright Birth in Decatur, GA.
Cold Meds "There are several cold remedy compounds that are safe, and others that most certainly affect milk supply," says Hightower. "Breast milk is a body fluid -- a secretion. So if the medication is designed to dry up secretions, they very often are contraindicated for breastfeeding mothers." (Meds that contain pseudoephedrine, like Sudafed and Mucinex D, are big offenders.)
Avoid Once-a-Day Drugs It's safer to take short-acting versions of medications rather than time-release, lasts-all-day versions, which are harder for your baby to metabolize.
Migraine Meds "Many women of childbearing age suffer from migraines, and the most commonly prescribed medications are Triptans or Erogts. These must be used with extreme caution," Hightower says. These meds, too, are secreted into breast milk, but there's conflicting advice as to their safety.
Time Your Feedings To limit your baby's exposure to the drug you're taking, nurse either right before or two to four hours after taking your medication.
Consult the Pros Before taking any prescription or OTC medication or supplement, consult your doctor, pharmacist, and/or lactation consultant. Check out LactMed, a drugs and breastfeeding database supplied by the United States National Library of Medicine.
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