newborn baby nurses snuggled up, is it safe to take ibuprofen while breastfeeding?
Eva Blanco / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images

Is It Safe to Take Ibuprofen While Breastfeeding?

A pediatrician weighs in.

When you are breastfeeding, it can be stressful to think about what you are eating or drinking and how it might affect your baby. When breastfeeding, everything from caffeine to alcohol can potentially be passed through your milk, but often is harmless to the baby. Whether you're recovering from childbirth or just dealing with a parenting-induced headache, nursing parents are bound to reach for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen at some point along the way. So, is it safe to take ibuprofen while breastfeeding? We talked to a pediatrician to find out more.

Is it safe to take ibuprofen while breastfeeding?

Yes, says Dr. Shannon Thompson, DO, a pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital, in general it is safe to take ibuprofen while breastfeeding. In fact, many hospitals prescribe ibuprofen to new moms after delivery or cesarean section for pain control. Once home, it continues to be a common source of pain relief for the aches and pains of motherhood — from post-delivery pain management to the pinch in your neck from falling asleep in the rocking chair at 2 a.m.

How much ibuprofen can I take while breastfeeding?

If you are breastfeeding, it is recommended to take 200 to 400 milligrams every four to six hours, says Thompson. For more extreme pain, 600 milligrams is OK to take every eight hours. She does note that some providers will recommend 800 milligrams every eight hours, but this should not be done without consulting your provider.

Is ibuprofen safe for the baby?

Generally, ibuprofen is considered safe for babies at the level that is transferred in breast milk, according to Thompson. “Medications are considered safe if the ‘relative infant dose’ is less than 10% when transferred, and in ibuprofen, that dosage is less than 1%.”

What are the risks of taking ibuprofen while nursing?

In healthy moms and babies, the risks of taking ibuprofen are very low. Thompson does caution that specific personal circumstances need to be considered. Infants with platelet abnormalities, thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), or some heart conditions are at a higher risk from ibuprofen exposure. In those cases, Thompson urges patients to talk to their doctor to find a pain management strategy that works for both mom and baby.


Dr. Shannon Thompson, DO, pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital