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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Breast Feeding

Related Women's Issues

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Breast Feeding While on Flagyl [posted 12/08/98]
Question: I am currently breast feeding my son. He is 8 weeks old. My GYN perscribed Fagyl for a vaginal infection- 500mg BID. Is it safe to take Flagyl while breast feeding?

Answer: It will pass through the breast milk. I would pump and discard the milk while you are taking Flagyl.

Breast Feeding While on Paxil or Xanax [posted 11/11/98]
Question:  What are the possible effects on an infant of taking Paxil and Xanax while breastfeeding?

Answer: Both are passed into milk, no clear idea of the long term effect, but, short term effects would be probably most marked with Xanax(sedation etc). If you need to take these drugs, I would consider formula or a wet nurse.

Breast Feeding While on Flagyl [posted 11/11/98]
Question: Is it okay to breastfeed my 6-month old if I am taking Flagyl?

Answer: Wouldn't be recommended, but, for a short time probably isn't a big deal.

Increasing Milk Production [posted 11/4/98]
Question: I am a nursing mother that is not producing enough breat milk. A lactation consultant recommended some herbs (Fenugreek, Alphalpha and Blessed Thistle) but have not produced any results. She also recommended a drug called Reglan. Though it's used for Reflux in small children, it has produced results for nursing mothers. Has anyone had any experience with using Reglan for increasing a mothers milk supply?

Answer: I would not do this since it is potentially passed to your child. Better to augment with formula. An age old problem with no great cures.

Meds to Stop Milk Production [posted 11/4/98]
Question: I lost a baby to SIDS on 27 July 1998, after 5 days of his birth, as I breast fed my older children, my milk started as usual and of course I had to be put on medication to stop milk production. I have been taking Bromocriptine as mesilate 2.5mg daily since then and still I have milk in my breast, and suffer from severe headache and dizziness. Is there any other new drug that can be more tolerated by the body and be quicker in effect? Your answer will be extremely appreciated, Thank you.

Answer: There are several drugs in this class, but, most have the same effects of nausea.

NSAIDS and Breast Feeding [posted 8/5/98]
Question: My wife was diagnosed with Pes Anserius Bursitis (knee joint bursitis) and she is also breast feeding. Her doctor wanted her to be on Relafen, however, he wasn't sure if that is safe in breast feeding mother.

Answer: Usually not recommended to take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory while breast feeding. The drug is passed to the child and can inhibit platelets causing bleeding.

Breast Feeding and Maxzide [posted 8/4/98]
Question: Would it be harmful to my breast-fed baby if I take Maxzide for swollen joints?

Answer: This drug is clearly passed through breast milk. There is both the diuretic risk (with electrolyte abnormalities), as well as a mild folic acid antagonism. The drug information published by the company recommends stopping nursing if this drug is necessary while breast feeding. I'd stop the medication for the duration of breast feeding.

Breast Feeding [posted 7/17/98]
Question: Would any form of Phen, Fastin, or diet pills effect a breast feeding baby?

Answer: Diet pills are absolutely not recommended to any breast feeding mother.

Breast Feeding
Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages to breast feeding?

Answer: There are mainly advantages. Bonding of mother to child, passage of immunoglobulins to the child helping fight infections(particularly the first 3 months), no allergic response, the right mix of calories, fat, etc., for humans, etc. Disadvantages are mainly transmission of certain infectious diseases(also passed prenatally), passage of medications and toxins to the child in the milk if the mother is taking or ingesting these substances. In general, most physicians are advocates for breast feeding if tolerated by the mother.

Breast Feeding and Medication
Question: I am taking 1 mg of Ativan a day for anxiety (two .5mg doses), and I am breast feeding my 3 week old infant. What are the risks to him? Would another medication, such as Klonopin or Xanax be better for him? Are there any other medications that could be used instead with fewer risks?

Answer: Breast milk concentrates several drugs including most of the benzodiazepines. Although there may he some differences, for clinical purposes these drugs are similar in their sedative ability and concentration in breast milk. Anxiety disorders are occasionally treated with beta- blockers, which are relatively safe and not addicting like the benzodiazepines. Other drugs like the SRI antidepressants are also used, but data on use in small children is lacking here.

Breast Feeding and Relafen
Question: I am currently taking Relafen 750mg. and up until now, have been breast feeding. I saw in the literature that breast feeding is contraindicated while taking this medication. Have there been any studies done to support the recommendation that Relafen should not be taken while breast feeding? And secondly, what, if any side effects are likely if Relafen is taken while breast feeding? My infant is 8 months old and takes approximately 10-12 oz. of breast milk/day.

Answer: The risk of Relafen or any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory is that the drug will be passed in the milk to the child. This drug inhibits platelets and may induce bleeding. There are other potential problems in a newborn(especially the first week of birth)-less so as they age.

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