Is It Safe To Take Antibiotics If You're Breastfeeding?

Many new moms may hear mixed signals when it comes to antibiotics. Are they okay to take while breastfeeding or not? While there have been previous concerns about medications passing to nursing infants through breastmilk, experts now say most medications and immunizations are fine to take while breastfeeding (via the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The American Academy of Pediatrics wrote in its 2013 clinical report that the cautious approach of not taking antibiotics while breastfeeding "may be unnecessary in many cases, because only a small proportion of medications are contraindicated in breastfeeding mothers or associated with adverse effects on their infants."

Medications do pass through breastmilk, but at low enough levels not to be too concerning for most infants (via Mayo Clinic), although there are some special cases. The risks of medication exposure are highest for newborns, premature births, and babies who have medical issues. Babies six months and older are at lower risk.

Possible side effects of antibiotics and breastfeeding

However, there could be some downsides to taking antibiotics while breastfeeding. Some moms have reported that after they take their antibiotic and nurse, their babies get upset stomachs or become fussy (via Healthline). This appeared to be temporary, but something to note. Other concerns include the killing of "good" bacteria in the baby's body, and the development of a fungal infection commonly known as thrush in mom or baby.

It is best to check with your healthcare provider, as well as the baby's pediatrician, before taking any medications while breastfeeding. These doctors will be able to consider the medication's benefits for mom, the risks for the baby, and whether or not the medication may decrease the mother's milk supply (via American Academy of Pediatrics). You will also want to monitor your baby after taking the medication to see if they have any reactions.