Breastfeeding and The Use of Precription Pain Medication

Is It Safe?

Prescription Medication, Pain Meds
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Is It Safe To Take Prescription Pain Medication If You're Breastfeeding?

Prescription pain medications may be ok to use while you are breastfeeding depending upon your circumstances and the medication. It's common for women to use some prescription pain killers while they are healing from childbirth, especially after a cesarean section. As long as you discuss the use of any medication with your doctor before you take it, and let your doctor know that you're nursing your child, the doctor can prescribe a medication that is safe and compatible with breastfeeding.

If taken properly, you should not be afraid to take your pain medication when you need it.

Prescription Drug Abuse

A greater concern is prescription drug addiction. Even if your doctor tells you that you can take pain medication while you are breastfeeding, that does not mean it is safe to take large amounts of that medication. You should only take the dose of medication that the doctor has prescribed, and only obtain your medication from your doctor, your hospital or a licensed pharmacy.

Prescription pain medication does enter your breast milk and when taken in large doses it will affect your baby. Depending on the type of drug, an overdose can cause your child to appear sleepy or irritable. It can also lead to poor sucking, poor breastfeeding, weight loss, dehydration, and death. Abuse of prescription medication can be just as dangerous to you and your child as the use of illegal street drugs.


See Also:


Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby. 2011.

Sachs, H. C., Frattarelli, D. A., Galinkin, J. L., Green, T. P., Johnson, T., Neville, K., Paul, I.M., and Van den Anker, J. The Transfer of Drugs and Therapeutics Into Human Breast Milk: An Update on Selected Topics. 2013. Pediatrics; 132(3): e796-e809:

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