Home > Babies and Toddlers > Babies > Feeding Your Baby > Breastfeeding > New Guidelines on Medication Safety for Breastfeeding Mothers

New Guidelines on Medication Safety for Breastfeeding Mothers

Do you have concerns about breastfeeding while on certain medications? Good news: In the September 2013 issue of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shares its revised guidelines on the transfer of drugs into breast milk, largely loosening the "rules" on medication safety for nursing mothers. The AAP says: "Many mothers are inappropriately advised to discontinue breastfeeding or avoid taking any essential medications because of fears of adverse effects on their infants. This cautious approach may be unnecessary in many cases, because only a small proportion of medications are contraindicated in breastfeeding mothers or associated with adverse effects on their infants."

To summarize more of the AAP's latest advice:

  • In most cases, the benefits of breastfeeding a baby outweigh the typically minimal risks of taking most medications, but women should still consult their physician to weigh the risks and benefits before taking any over-the-counter or prescription drugs.
  • Physicians and nursing moms should refer to a searchable database called LactMed for the most current and comprehensive information available on the safety of specific drugs. For example, a search for "Advil" will show the most recent studies and information on the drug amounts passed through breast milk, any known effects on breastfed infants' health and development (including short-term side effects), and any alternative drugs a mom should consider. Note: The LactMed database is filled with medical jargon and statistics, so you should review the information with your physician before taking any medications.
  • Even if a medication is deemed safe, nursing mothers will often be advised to take the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time to limit the baby's exposure to any drugs passed through breast milk.

The FDA is currently working on comprehensive new drug labeling for nursing mothers. Previously, most drug labels advised that women either discontinue breastfeeding or discontinue using the medication. Under the new labeling rules, a section called "Lactation" will summarize the risks and considerations specific to breastfeeding.

More on: Breastfeeding


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.



Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!

7 Tips for Reading Aloud to Babies & Toddlers
The AAP advises reading aloud to babies and toddlers because it boosts brain power and has many other benefits. Get some tips for making the most of story time with your tot!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

How to Survive Summer Boredom
When the kids are home all day, every day, summer boredom strikes hard and fast. Learn the best summer boredom busters and tips for surviving until September.

12 Birthday Party Favors that Won't Get Thrown Away
The next time you're planning a birthday, forgo the penny candy and cheap toys. Send your guests home with one of these fun and creative party favor ideas!