Can You Take Tylenol While Breastfeeding? 3 Experts Weigh In

Is Tylenol your go-to pain med? Do you use it for fevers? Read on to learn more about how you can safely take Tylenol while breastfeeding.

Woman breastfeeding

Santi Nunez / Stocksy

When you are chest- and breastfeeding, it's common to have questions about what you can (and can't!) put into your body. After all, you are feeding your baby with milk your body makes, so you want to make sure it's safe. Many parents have questions about common over-the-counter medications, including Tylenol, which is a go-to pain reliever for many of us.

Thankfully, in most cases, Tylenol is considered a safe choice for chest- and breastfeeding parents and their babies. We reached out to pediatricians and breastfeeding medicine specialists to help parents understand the ins and outs of taking Tylenol while breastfeeding, including safety, dosing, and whether you need to change your routine while taking it.

What Is Tylenol?

Tylenol's the brand name of a medication called acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is one of the most common pain relievers around and can be found in most drug stores. It may be sold in capsule, tablet, chewable tablet, or liquid form.

Acetaminophen is used to treat many symptoms, including:

  • Muscles aches
  • Headaches
  • Fevers
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Sore throats
  • Soreness from vaccines
  • Toothaches
  • Arthritis and joint pain

Postpartum parents often find themselves in need of pain relief after birth. You may be hoping to alleviate the pain associated with postpartum cramping, which happens as the uterus contracts back to its pre-birth size. You may also be seeking relief from a C-section, or you may be looking to ease the discomfort caused by a perineal tear. No matter the reason, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that both acetaminophen and ibuprofen (the active ingredient in Advil) are safe to take for postpartum pain. They are also safe for fevers, if you should fall ill and one does occur.

That said, it's important to take only the recommended dosage of acetaminophen, which should not exceed 4000 mg per day. Taking more than this increases your risk of liver damage.

Can You Take Tylenol While Breastfeeding?

"It is perfectly safe to use Tylenol while breastfeeding," assures Cindy Rubin, MD, IBCLC, pediatrician and breastfeeding medicine specialist at Touch Pediatrics and Lactation in Westchester, Illinois. Dr. Rubin notes that both LactMed, a breastfeeding research database, and the InfantRisk Center consider Tylenol a safe option during lactation. "LactMed and InfantRisk are the most trusted resources by breastfeeding medicine specialists when determining the safety of medications during lactation," Dr. Rubin says.

Lisa Hoang, MD, a pediatrician from Providence Mission Hospital in Orange County, agrees that Tylenol is safe during breastfeeding and shared that she used it herself. "I remember having a headache right after my oldest was born," says Dr. Hoang. "Like many people, I took Tylenol, which is safe for breastfeeding parents." Dr. Hoang does warn, however, that if your baby is medically vulnerable, including premature, it's best to consult a doctor before taking any medication. This includes over-the-counter medications like Tylenol.

As for side effects, Jessica Madden, MD, IBCLC, pediatrician, neonatologist, lactation consultant, and the medical director of Aeroflow Breastpumps, explains that there are no known issues or interactions. So far, research has found no significant side effects for babies whose parents take Tylenol while breastfeeding. Additionally, Tylenol isn't known to affect your milk supply, Dr. Madden says.

She also points out that newborns and infants are actually given Tylenol themselves to treat pain and fever, which may make you feel more comfortable about taking it. Babies can start taking acetaminophen as soon as they are born, according to the Academy of American Pediatrics (AAP). Keep in mind, though, that infants and children have different dosing requirements; ask a doctor or pediatrician for appropriate dosing info.

That said, Dr. Madden stresses that you should still be mindful of how much Tylenol your taking while breastfeeding and should take care not to exceed the recommended amount. "Adults can take two regular strength Tylenol tablets (325 mg each) every 4 to 6 hours as needed, and should not exceed 10 total tablets in a 24 period," Dr. Madden says. She also suggests you pay close attention to any cold and flu medication you are taking. Those sometimes have added acetaminophen, and could cause you to exceed your daily maximum if you take them while also taking acetaminophen in liquid or pill form.

Can Other Medications Pass Through Breast Milk?

Here's some more good news: Tylenol isn't the only medication that is generally safe during breastfeeding. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while most medications pass into breast milk, they are usually safe for babies, and don't have significant side effects.

Dr. Hoang agrees. "While breastfeeding, it is usually safe to continue to take regularly prescribed medications that you took during pregnancy," she says. She recommends discussing any medications you are taking while breastfeeding with a pediatrician. "They can discuss if the medications are safe and help you to recognize any side effects to watch out for in your baby," she says.

Dr. Madden recommends a few resources to help breastfeeding parents understand how taking a particular medication might impact breastfeeding. These resources include:

What Should You Do If You Take Tylenol While Breastfeeding?

So, you decide you are going to take Tylenol while breastfeeding your little one. Is there anything you need to do differently? Not really, explains Dr. Madden. "It is okay to take Tylenol while breastfeeding, even if it's right before a nursing or pumping session," she says. "This is because research has shown that the percentage of Tylenol that passes into milk is very low," she notes.

Dr. Rubin says that you also don't need to "pump and dump" if you take Tylenol while breastfeeding. "Though some medical professionals recommend pumping and dumping with medication, very few medications are known to be unsafe during lactation, and most are thought to be probably safe based on our information," she says.

When it comes to taking Tylenol—or any medication—while breastfeeding, Dr. Rubin strongly recommends connecting with a physician to weigh the risk and benefits involved.

Was this page helpful?
Parents uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Acetaminophen. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. 2022.

Related Articles