It is natural for nursing mothers to get sick. Some medical conditions require antibiotics and some do not. If you have been prescribed antibiotics and you’re a nursing mother, then you must be concerned about its safety. No matter what breastfeeding meal plans you are taking to build your child’s immunity, antibiotics could also affect your baby.
So the question arises if antibiotics are safe to be taken during breastfeeding?
The answer is – most antibiotics are safe for breastfeeding moms and their babies. Antibiotics are one of the most common prescription medications. All antibiotics will pass in varying degrees into breastmilk as per the Academy of American Paediatrics(AAP).
According to Mayo Clinic, the drugs that are present in your bloodstream will naturally come in your breast milk. However, the amount of drugs in your milk will be significantly less than your blood. So it’s important to consult your treating physician before taking any medications.
Other than medications, the age of your baby also plays a very important role. Premature babies and newborns are more at risk from antibiotics as compared to older babies.
Effects of antibiotics while breastfeeding:
Antibiotics in general affect and destroy gut bacteria. Babies can experience an upset stomach as antibiotics deplete the good bacteria in their gut. But this effect is generally short-lived and does not cause any major harm to the baby. It is advisable to keep feeding your baby as breastmilk will improve your baby’s gut health overall.
Things to ask if your doctor has prescribed you antibiotics:
• will the prescribed medication be safe for my baby?
• Will my baby or I experience any side effects?
• Should I feed probiotics to my baby?
• In case the prescribed antibiotics are not safe for your baby, then ask your doctor if there are any alternatives. Ask about the duration of your medication and how long will it take to get out of your system.
You can also check LactMed, a database sponsored by the National Library of Medicine to check the effect of different medications on your baby. The Infant Risk Center also provides evidence-based information on how and what medications can affect your baby during breastfeeding.
If you face health problems, antibiotics could be a part of your prescription and knowing that it could affect the baby’s health, breastfeeding moms usually end up confused and stressed. Majority of prescribed antibiotics are safe for your baby, but in case it is not, there are always safer alternatives for those antibiotics. In the end, breastfeeding moms should make sure that they question their doctors and educate themselves.
For expert guidance, contact Kanupriya Khanna, a Sr. Consultant Nutritionist & Child Nutrition Specialist in Delhi with over 17 years of experience in child nutrition. Kanupriya has earned the title of best dietician in Delhi by her continuous contribution in segments like child nutrition, pre/postnatal health and infertility. She can educate you on what kind of nutrition is essential for breastfeeding moms and their child to lead healthy life.