Which Prescription Drugs Are Safe While Breastfeeding?

When you are breastfeeding, you will likely face all kinds of criticism. From what to eat, to where to feed, the suggestions never seem to stop. Your diet and nutrition will be up for debate, but so will your medications. If you are in pain, whether it be a headache from the constant judgement, or leftover pain from labor, you may need painkillers, so which prescription painkillers are safe to take while breastfeeding?

In an interview with Romper, Bineesh Moyeed, Pharm.D, says that most prescription painkillers are safe to use. "Even if the painkillers are absorbed into the breast milk, it is in such a small amount that it's considered negligible, or it gets destroyed by the baby's own stomach acid," Moyeed says. She also notes that while she took hydrocodone soon after the birth of her twins, she eventually preferred sticking to acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

"While most prescription medications won't be harmful for breastfed babies, if a mom is still skeptical, she can use acetaminophen or ibuprofen, which are effective and completely safe, even for babies directly." Moyeed says.

According to Mayo Clinic, while most medications don't pose a risk to infants, there are exceptions where some drugs can become concentrated in breast milk, so every medication should be treated differently. The article explained that preterm infants, newborns, and babies with underlying health conditions, such as poor kidney function, have the highest risk of exposure, and that older, healthy babies have a more efficient metabolism to deal with exposure to medications.

It seems that most prescription painkillers are safe to take while breastfeeding and shouldn't be harmful to your baby, but you should always consult your physician or pharmacist about any new drugs you are taking and the effects they could have. Sometimes as a breastfeeding mom, you may need to ease your physical pain, and knowing that the medications are safe for your baby can put your mind at ease as well.