Medications and Breastfeeding

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I was having problems with frequently choking and was prescribed some medicine for “silent reflux” by an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. She said that the medicine was “fine for a nursing mom”…..without checking. I wasn’t convinced she really knew.  I called my general practitioner to see if the medicine was okay for a nursing mom.

“NO!” she said, “take Pepcid instead.”

Just to double check that Pepcid was okay for a nursing woman, I called Kathy Lilleskov, who was my (amazing) lactation consultant with Willow. She looked Pepcid up in the trusty Thomas W. Hale book, “Medications and Mothers Milk.” Kathy did some of the medical translation for me and told me that Pepcid was an L-1 medicine. Huh? L-1 is a category for a medicine considered safe while breastfeeding. It was so nice to get immediate, trustworthy information.

If you don’t want to go out and buy the book, check out Thomas W. Hale’s website/forum.  He has some helpful information on the site and a great forum.  Hale will no longer answer questions from the public, but will from health professionals. However, search through the forum and you will see some of the answers he has posted.

The other site I love for information about medications and breastfeeding is Kelly Mom.  Between both sites and perhaps the book, you should be able to get your questions answered immediately.

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  1. The new Hale forums are now hosted at the Infant Risk website:

    On the pregnancy and breastfeeding forums, only healthcare professionals may post new questions, but all can look at the posts. A third forum is for any individual to post, if they can’t find what they are looking for on the first forum.

  2. I did- but prilosec was a L2 and that made me nervous.

  3. That’s so helpful Ellen- thank you for telling me- I didn’t realize that a med being “new” could be a reason that they might not be approved. If I get worse, I will look into taking one of those.

  4. btw, i just looked up prilosec, nexium, and zantac, and all three are an L2 – not as good as an L1 but still pretty darn safe. probably only an L2 rather than L1 because they’re newer, but they have no reported pediatric side effects.

  5. wait… but did you check on whether the originally prescribed med was or was not ok, by looking THAT up in hale’s? otherwise seems it’s one doc’s word against another’s. and, frankly (sadly), most docs will say a med is not safe for nursing when in fact it is. as an RN in general medicine who has dealt w a few nursing moms as patients recently, i would like to buy a million copies of hale’s and give them out to every medical practitioner i can find.

  6. Oh, I’m lame. I did but with a small voice.

  7. Sketchy! Did you let that original doc know about her mistake? I hope she’ll think twice next time.


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