The Breastfeeding Factor: Using Drugs While Breastfeeding
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There are some drugs that should never be taken by nursing mothers. For example, absolutely avoid radioactive compounds while breastfeeding. Radioactive compounds are used for diagnostic testing and some treatments for serious conditions, such as Graves' disease. If you are being tested for a thyroid hormone imbalance, you may be told you need to take a test that uses radioactive iodine. The radioactive iodine can accumulate in your baby's thyroid and cause permanent damage. Tell your physician that you would prefer to skip the thyroid scan. If the test must be done, it can be performed with technetium a radioactive compound that clears from the body within thirty hours. You can formula feed and pump and dump your breast milk for that period.
If you are tempted to indulge in marijuana while you are nursing, please don't. It will decrease your production of prolactin, which will in turn diminish your milk supply and your maternal urges. Alcohol, however, is fine in moderation. Limit your alcohol intake to a single glass of wine or beer a day. Caffeine should not hurt your baby either, in small amounts, but if it seems to make your baby jittery, you may want to avoid it while you are nursing.
All antihistamine drugs both prescription and over-the-counter should be avoided during pregnancy and while nursing. Most pass readily into breast milk and show up in high concentrations in the baby's bloodstream. Avoid the following allergy-type medications (the following include both generic and popular brand names):
- Astemizole (Hismanal).
- Azatadine (Optimine, Trinalin).
- Azelastine (Astelin).
- Brompheniramine (in Allerhist, Dimetane, and others).
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec).
- Chlorpheniramine (in Chlor-Trimeton and others).
- Clemastine (Tavist).
- Cyproheptdine (Periactin).
- Dexchlorpheniramine (Mylaramine, Polaramine).
- Diphenhydramine (in Allerdryl, Benadryl, Dramamine, Dytuss, and many other over-the-counter cold and allergy products).
- Fexofenadine (Allegra).
- Loratidine (Claritin).
- Methdilazine (Tacaryl).
- Phenindamine (Nolahist).
- Promethazine (Phenergan).
- Trimeprazine (Temaril).
- Tripelennamine (PBZ).
More on: Adjusting to New Motherhood
From A Natural Guide to Pregnancy and Postpartum Health by Dean Raffelock, Robert Rountree, and Virginia Hopkins with Melissa Block. Copyright © 2002 by Dr. Dean Raffelock. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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