The Safety of using Amoxicillin while Breastfeeding


Breastfeeding is a great way to feed your newborn, or toddler, however old you plan on nursing for. Is it the best? The answer to that is an unequivocal no. Fed is best honestly.

As long as the child is eating and thriving, that is the best. But as moms, it’s bound to happen that you come down with a cold, or an infection. It happens.

Especially if that little one is going to daycare (also known as germ havens), coupled with the fact that moms are lacking in sleep and relaxation. Some are so busy taking care of their child that they forget about taking care of themselves.

But it might not only be because you are sick, you could need a surgery, teeth pulled (babies have the tendency to suck the life right out of them), injured, etc.

So many things could happen in the course of one’s day. So if you are required to take an antibiotic, is it safe? That’s what women who are nursing are worried about; will it affect their child through the very essence that is feeding them?

Let’s shed some light on the safety of taking Amoxicillin while breastfeeding and if any considerations need to be made to ensure that everyone is safe.

What is Amoxicillin and What is it Used for?

Amoxicillin is used to treat infections. It’s considered penicillin. [1] While there are some people who are allergic to this drug, others are not and it’s the first line of defense to kill whatever is eating away at the person.

Some of the ailments that I can treat, which are all caused by bacteria’s, is tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, as well as UTI’s, skin infections, ear infections, etc.

One consideration is that if you are prescribed an antibiotic such as this, it can make birth control less effective, which means if you are not trying to get pregnant again and are breastfeeding, you should consider using a backup form of birth control.

One thing that a nursing mother might take antibiotics for, or consider antibiotics for is mastitis. It’s actually quite a common infection of the milk ducts, which causes the breast to look bright red and be warm to the touch [2]. It’s also extremely painful.

In addition to just the breast hurting, it comes along with feeling like you have the fly with a fever, chills, aches and pains, all while attempting to nurse and being a mother.

And it also comes on pretty quickly. You could be fine in the morning and by lunchtime making a call to your doctor. Many doctors prescribe an antibiotic to nursing mothers as well as telling them to continue to nurse because it helps draw the infection out (also really painful).

So is it Safe?

One would think that if the medication such as amoxicillin is being prescribed to a nursing mother for an infection of the milk ducts, the very ducts that feed that child, which are revolting against her it seems. So you would think it’s safe. Well, let’s consider it.

Studies show that use of Amoxicillin is safe for use while breastfeeding [3], and that’s a good thing considering it’s used a lot for treating mastitis.

Some parents did report that their children had diarrhea while they were on the medication but other adverse reactions were nothing detrimental to their health.

Additional reports show that out of 40 breastfed children of mothers that were taking amoxicillin, 2 of them reported diarrhea and one had a rash [4].

In comparison to having an infection, this doesn’t seem like the worst route. Drugs are considered safe, or allowable when their benefits greatly outweigh the risks to the infants, and no mother wants to risk the health of their child.

If you Don’t Feel Comfortable

If you don’t feel comfortable with taking the medication while nursing you can always pump and dump. If you aren’t sure what that is, that’s the act of pumping the milk from your breasts and literally dumping it out.

If you have a stash of milk in your freezer this could be an option for you, or you can supplement with formula for the time being. If this is what you are going to do, it’s preferable to use a double pump, and to pump as frequently as you would nurse [5].

Even though the information is available that shows it’s completely safe to take Amoxicillin while nursing, it’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable.

You are the parent, you are the lifeline for that child, and you have to do what you feel is right. Don’t doubt your gut feelings, do what makes you feel comfortable.

If you do Feel Comfortable

Consider this, if you are taking antibiotics for mastitis, the best possible way to get the UT infection out while taking the medications is to let the child nurse. They are the most effective clearer of blocked ducts by far.

It will be painful (seriously), and you will cringe and want to cry as they latch, but the infection clears a lot quicker. Just don’t stop taking the medicine until the cycle is complete.

If you are taking Amoxicillin for an infection (and we’ve used mastitis here as an example only because it’s prevalent with nursing moms), it is safe, but you can still watch your child while taking it.

Consider the effect it may have on them. You may notice that they become more colicky or gassy, hey may develop thrush, and it could just upset their stomachs. All normal, and breastfeeding can actually then help reestablish the balance in their guts. [6].

So if you do have an infection, don’t hesitate to go to the doctor and get an antibiotic such as Amoxicillin for it. The better you are, the better parent you can be, plus, not taking the medication can actually prove more harmful to you.

References

  1. Amoxicillin. https://www.drugs.com/amoxicillin.html
  2. What is Mastitis? https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/what-is-mastitis#1
  3. Amoxicillin use while Breastfeeding. https://www.drugs.com/breastfeeding/amoxicillin.html
  4. see above #3
  5. Breast-feeding and medications: What’s safe? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breastfeeding-and-medications/art-20043975
  6. Antibiotics and Breastfeeding. https://www.bellybelly.com.au/breastfeeding/antibiotics-and-breastfeeding/
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