Antibiotics During Breastfeeding: Which Are The Safest Medications?
One of the biggest concerns of a mother seems to appear when talking about the treatment with antibiotics during breastfeeding. Most mothers are a lot more careful during pregnancy or when breastfeeding, so ideally they give up smoking or drinking alcohol, some of them change their diet (maybe for the first time in their life), and look skeptically at the consumption of drugs or natural products.
If we are to talk about natural products or those based on plants, the idea is simple: if you take a look on their label, you`ll notice that most of them recommend avoiding their usage during breastfeeding. Why? Because for some of them, there are no studies made, so their effects during pregnancy or breastfeeding isn`t known.
During breastfeeding a mother may confront with health issues which might require medication.
The first concern that the mother is related to the safety of the medication that she takes during breastfeeding: Will they harm my baby? What percentage from the drug substance will reach the baby through the milk? Will it be better to delay the treatment or do I need to stop breastfeeding?
Unfortunately, because of lack of proper information, a lot of mothers are afraid when they confront themselves with the necessity of following a treatment with antibiotics and they give up breastfeeding completely or at least during the treatment.
The good news is that most antibiotics are compatible with breastfeeding and a doctor who knows that you are breastfeeding will certainly prescribe you something appropriate.
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Which Are the Safest Medications during Breastfeeding?
When there are antibiotics prescribed during breastfeeding, the most important criteria to consider is the subsequent concentration of these medications in breast milk. Therefore first of all, it will only be indicated the antibiotics that are excreted in low amounts in milk. If it`s required a drug that is excreted in the milk, it`s recommended to stop breastfeeding at that particular time.
- The ones which can be prescribed to infants or small children.
- The ones that are allowed during breastfeeding.
- The ones that aren`t absorbed in the stomach (under the form of an injection or performed locally).
- The ones which aren`t excreted in the breast milk.
When we need to follow a treatment with antibiotics (for example due to an infection or dental abscess) is good to put in balance the possible negative effects that the treatment might have against the baby with the negative effects that may appear if the breastfeeding process is interrupted.
- Azithromycin (with caution).
- Cefaclor (with caution).
- Erythromycin (with caution).
- Penicillin V.
In almost all cases the balance will be inclined in favor of continuing the breastfeeding even during the treatment, this is happening because there`s a very small quantity from the medication that is being excreted in the breast milk. This won`t be harmful to the baby in any way. On the other hand, it can be rather traumatic to interrupt the process of breastfeeding for both the baby and mother, which may lead to healthy issues such as breast abscess, engorgement of the breasts or mastitis. – Read more info!
The rule of thumb is that any mother who is breastfeeding must inform herself and ask for the opinion of a specialist regarding the effects that certain medication could have during breastfeeding.
A doctor or a breastfeeding counselor will most definitely know what antibiotics to prescribe you. You need a medication that will treat the illness but at the same time will also allow breastfeeding.
There isn`t any medication that is 100% safe to administrate during breastfeeding because at least 1% from the substances within the medication may reach the breast milk.
Generally, antibiotics during pregnancy are only recommended those in the class of penicillins, like amoxicillin or ampicillin. These pass into breast milk and there`s a risk of allergies or intestinal transit problems for the baby.
However, in the case of mastitis, it`s recommended the administration of antibiotics and a constant emptying of the breasts, so is required a visit to the doctor.
Although most of the times antibiotics are allowed during breastfeeding (if the indication for their administration is clear), there are also restrictions because some of them can lead to:
- Fetal malformations.
- Fetal death.
- Gastrointestinal, renal disorders, etc (after birth).
Antibiotics That You Should Stay Away From
For Gentamicin, Cefuroxamine, Clarithromycin and Trimethoprim, it`s recommended to stop breastfeeding during treatment.
The most common infections that require antibiotics are the urinary ones. They may show no symptoms, being detected at a regular urinary or symptomatic examination, when the patient has burns in the urine, the need to go to the toilet often, and even back pain if the infection is ascending, complicating with pyelonephritis.
Most antibiotics pass through milk, so it can basically affect the baby, that`s why it`s recommended to talk to a doctor first when it comes to their administration. He knows best how you should proceed, depending on the quantity of the drugs that you need to take and the duration of their administration.
Chloramphenicol is forbidden during breastfeeding, because it may even lead to the death of the baby, by lowering blood pressure and bruising the skin.