Jeffrey L. Segar, MD
Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

One of the most frequently asked questions of pediatricians, obstetricians and nurses concerns the effect of various drugs taken by the nursing mother on her infant. A comprehensive reference to guide you in your decision as to whether or not a mother receiving a given drug should continue to breast feed will be found in the literature. References include: Roberts, Drug Therapy in Infants (Chapter 11); Briggs, et al, Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation, 1991; White and White, Breast feeding and Drugs in Human Milk, Vet Human Tox Suppl. I, Vol 22, 1980. There are only a few known categories of drugs which when given to the mother warrant the interruption of breast feeding.

It may be possible to minimize infant drug exposure by instructing the mother to take the medication immediately after completing breast feeding or by collecting breast milk for subsequent feeding just prior to taking medication.

If drug therapy in the mother is to be of short duration, interruption rather than complete termination of breast-feeding should be advised.

The link below leads to a comprehensive database about maternal drugs in breast milk.