Medication and Breastfeeding Resources

From LLL in VA/WV References

Most mothers will probably need to take medication at some point while they're breastfeeding, which can be scary since there's not a lot of information available about the effects on nursing babies, and drug manufacturers invariably say not to breastfeed while taking their products. The good news is that there are actually few meds that are truly contraindicated during breastfeeding, and for many others you may be able to minimize your baby's exposure to the drug through timing when you take it.

There are several resources which provide information about the impact of medications on breastfeeding. These resources are very helpful but not a substitute for a medical opinion, so we recommend that you discuss the information with your physician to make the safest decision for you and your baby.

Websites

LactMed

LactMed is a free, searchable database of medications maintained by the US National Library of Medicine. It includes information such as the level of a medication in breast milk, the level of the medication in the baby's system after breastfeeding, and potential effects on milk production.

e-lactancia

e-lactancia is a bilingual Spanish/English database of medications, herbs, toxins, and diseases, rating their compatibility with breastfeeding. It was created by a pediatrician and is maintained by APILAM (la Asociación para la Promoción e Investigación científica y cultural de la Lactancia Materna, or Association for Promotion and Cultural and Scientific Research of Breastfeeding).

MommyMeds

MommyMeds is a website that provides up-to-date, evidence-based information on the use of medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It's sponsored by the InfantRisk Center, and provides the same information as the InfantRisk website, but in less technical language.

Telephone Helplines

InfantRisk Center (US)

If you're in the US, a great resource for questions about medication while breastfeeding is the InfantRisk Center at Texas Tech University.

InfantRisk Center
(806) 352-2519
Monday–Friday
8:00 am–5:00 pm Central Time

InfantRisk was established by Dr. Thomas Hale, a pharmacologist who is the leading expert in the use of medications during lactation. The counselors there will consider the drug you've been prescribed, the dosage, how old your baby is, what his or her nursing pattern is like, and give you information that's specific to your situation.

They can also provide information about non-prescription drugs, herbal products, vaccines, chemicals, and other substances.

Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline (UK)

The Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline is sponsored by The Breastfeeding Network, a volunteer support organization in the UK. The helpline is staffed by a Breastfeeding Network Volunteer who is also a qualified pharmacist.

Their website has a collection of excellent information sheets on a range of medication and health topics: Breastfeeding Network Drugs Factsheets.

Mobile Apps

Both MommyMeds and LactMed are available as mobile apps.