The use of antibiotics during breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers who have to take an antibiotic for some reason often wonder Can I continue to give my baby breast milk if I am taking antibiotics? The answer will almost certainly be yes.

It is not uncommon for breastfeeding to be suspended on more than one occasion as a result of an antibiotic received by the mother, most of the time this indication is done incorrectly, since the antibiotics that warrant the suspension of breastfeeding are counted . We explain what you should know about the use of antibiotics during breastfeeding.

1. Can I take antibiotics and continue to breastfeed? Sometimes the decision to abandon breastfeeding before the consumption of some medications is made by the mother on her own, but on many occasions it is the doctors who make this indication wrongly.

Speaking of antibiotics, even those that are contraindicated in children (for example tetracyclines) they do not contraindicate breastfeeding when the mother consumes them. It is true that these will pass through breast milk, but the amount that is excreted in the milk is minimal and some drugs, when mixed with the calcium in the milk, make the antibiotic cannot be absorbed by the baby's intestine, so breastfeeding is still compatible.

2. What are the risks and benefits of using antibiotics while breastfeeding? Any medication can have adverse effects, there is no antibiotic that lacks them (without necessarily having to be presented). The risk involved in the presence of these antibiotics in breast milk will never exceed the benefits of breastfeeding.

Most of the antibiotics that are used in adults are the same that we use in children, even in newborns (when they deserve it), therefore if we can administer them directly to children, there would be no reason to suspend the milk where the amount that is excreted is minimal compared to the dose they would receive if administered directly.

3. What degree of risk should we assess? To assess the compatibility of drugs with breastfeeding, they can be classified into:

Very low risk. Compatible

- Low risk probable. Pretty sure

- Probable high risk. Little sure

- Very high risk. Contraindicated

Most of the most commonly used antibiotics are very low risk or probable low risk so it is safe to continue breastfeeding. There are few antibiotics that present a probable high risk (for example Chloramphenicol), in which case, although they do not contraindicate breastfeeding, it should be preferred to seek a safer option. There are virtually no antibiotics that fall into the Very High Risk (contraindicated) category.

4. Is there a risk in self-medication? Currently there are a wide variety of antibiotics and you can always find the best option to continue breastfeeding, self-medication is never advisable. The medication must always be supervised by a health professional, who must verify the compatibility of breastfeeding or, where appropriate, propose the most appropriate alternative.

5. Where can I check the degree of risk to breastfeeding for a specific drug? If you have doubts or want to verify if an antibiotic (or any other medicine) is compatible with breastfeeding, you can consult it at, a page in Spanish recommended and endorsed by various pro-lactation organizations in Mexico, Spain and the United States.

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