In Australia, most babies (96%) are initially breastfed and it’s a key contributor to infant health. At this time, let’s consider taking medicines when breastfeeding.
Medicines can be defined as either prescription (only available with a prescription from a healthcare professional such as a doctor), over-the-counter (available without a prescription, often from a pharmacy) and complementary (e.g. herbal, natural and alternative medicines). Most medicines pass into breast milk but usually only in very small quantities. These quantities are generally too small to be harmful to the baby.
Many women will take some kind of medicine when breastfeeding. Some breastfeeding mothers may need to take medicine regularly to treat a medical condition. Others may take medicine occasionally when required to treat a sudden, limiting condition such as a headache, cough or cold. It is important when using any medicine while breastfeeding to consider the benefits to the mother compared with any risk it may pose to the baby. Discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.
Detailed information on medicines and breastfeeding is available from the Self Care Fact Card, Medicines and breastfeeding, which is available from pharmacies providing the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia’s Self Care health information. NPS MedicinesWise is a helpful consumer website that has information about medicines and breastfeeding. You can find this site at www.nps.org.au and search for breastfeeding. www.Mothersafe.org.au is another great resource for the latest information for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
For the nearest Self Care pharmacy location phone the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia on 1300 369 772, or Ask Piggotts!