I think it's important to talk to your healthcare provider about how soon does the medicine get into your breastmilk and how harmful can it be for your infant. Do you need to pump or dump or you can just wait a few hours before feeding
It really depends on the type of medication you are on. I have to be on blood pressure medication, but I am given a safe one for breastfeeding. The main thing is that you tell your doctor you are breastfeeding and they will tell you what to do. If you have to be on an antibiotic that won't allow breastfeeding you may have to pump and dump, but if you tell your doctor they will try hard to find one where you can continue to breastfeed. When you do go to the doctor tell them you are breastfeeding and then remind them! Sometimes they tend to forget and it is a big thing!
Most doctors, dentists and chemists can recommend a safe alternative.
There are almost always safer alternatives. It was believed earlier that if a woman takes any medication, especially antibiotics, she should stop breastfeeding. That's why many women who experienced mastitis and had to take antibiotics stopped breastfeeding their babies.
Today, many women continue to breastfeed, regardless of medications, BUT under one condition. The doctor must be aware that a woman is breastfeeding and give her something suitable for breastfeeding. It's not the best option to breastfeed while on medications, but if don't have a choice; there are ways to do it.
It's the same thing with pregnancy. The healthiest pregnancy is one in which woman doesn't take any medications. But, if she finds herself in the situation to take some medications, the doctor will prescribe her the ones with the lowest risk.
Most doctors aren't trained to know which medications are safe for breastfeeding mothers and babies. In many cases, a doctor will advise a mother to stop breastfeeding in order to take medications but they are often incorrect in giving this advice. To know for sure, check the book "Medications and Mother's Milk" by Dr. Thomas Hale. He also has a website with a message board where you can ask about your specific medication. If you can't access the book, most La Leche Leaders have a copy. They will not advise you on the medication but would be glad to look up the medication and read the data in the book.
I would have to take exception to the statement that "most doctors aren't trained to know which medications are safe for breastfeeding mothers and babies",
Doctors have a monthly periodical called Mims, or is it Mms, which lists all current pharmaceuticals, their dosage, side effects, contra-indications etc, and if they don't know they can easily look up a drug to see if it is safe for breastfeeding mothers or not.
You need to talk to your physician because with some medications you can't breastfeeding at all.
Please remember that breast milk can be stored in milk bags up to 4-7 days in the refrigerator and 3-6 months in the freezer. So on the days you need to take your medication you can refrain from breastfeeding and give your loved one(baby) breast milk via the bottle. However, always check your doctor beforehand if you would still like to breastfeed whilst medicated as all medications remain in the system for a while.
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