Is It Safe to Take Amoxicillin While Breastfeeding?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2017
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Amoxicillin is a type of penicillin, which is an antibiotic that works by keeping bacteria from multiplying. It can be used to get rid of infection in both adults and babies, which is why taking amoxicillin while breastfeeding is typically considered safe. It does pass through the breast milk, but does not harm the baby in most instances. Of course, there are some exceptions, as some babies are allergic to penicillin and will thus experience an adverse reaction to this drug. Additionally, it may attack the helpful bacteria in the body, which can cause minor health issues, such as diarrhea and thrush.

Though it is well documented that amoxicillin does pass through the breast milk, it does so typically in low amounts only. This is not usually considered harmful for infants since this type of penicillin can be administered to both newborns and toddlers safely to fight infection, typically in higher doses than they get through breast milk. Thus, mothers who are battling infections caused by conditions that include bronchitis, pneumonia, and gonorrhea can usually safely take amoxicillin while breastfeeding. In fact, this medication can also be taken during pregnancy with no known adverse effects.

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In some cases, babies may be slightly impacted by amoxicillin, but the effects are usually easily treated. For example, this drug is known for disrupting bacteria in the body, sometimes altering the environment in the gastrointestinal tract enough to cause thrush or diarrhea in babies. Additionally, an allergy to penicillin is one of the most common drug allergies, often causing mild symptoms that include skin rash in affected infants. Fortunately, this can typically be treated with antihistamines, and another antibiotic can usually be prescribed for the mother. By contrast, some babies display serious symptoms due to a penicillin allergy, such as difficulty breathing, which is why amoxicillin is occasionally considered dangerous for those who are breastfeeding.

Like any medication taken by pregnant or nursing mothers, amoxicillin should only be taken when its benefits outweigh any risks to the baby. Fortunately, this medication typically has to be prescribed by a doctor, which means that most women are only given amoxicillin while breastfeeding when there is no alternative. While it is known that this drug does not adversely affect the quality of the breast milk, it is so far unknown whether it affects the supply of the milk. Women who see a difference in their milk supply when taking amoxicillin while breastfeeding should notify their doctor.

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MissDaphne
Post 2

@ElizaBennett - I second the recommendation of Medications and Mother's Milk. I used it when I was trying to decide what would be the best allergy medicine to take while I was breastfeeding. (I settled on a nasal spray, as evidently they do not seem to pass into breast milk.)

Another good option for looking things up in that book is Amazon! They have a searchable version of it; you just enter the medicine you want to know about and it will take you to the appropriate page. Obviously, though, you can only use it a few times that way!

ElizaBennett
Post 1

When to take medicine while breastfeeding is always tricky. A lot of doctors will advise you to wean your baby out of an abundance of caution; while amoxicillin is generally considered safe, there is just so little information in general on breastfeeding and medicines.

A good resource is the book Medications and Mother's Milk by Thomas Hale. He compiled all the available research on commonly prescribed drugs and presents it here.

Now, usually you're trying to decide in a hurry whether or not something is safe to take. Fortunately, a lot of La Leche League chapters have small libraries. If you call a leader on the phone, she may be able to look up for you whether a particular medication is safe.

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