When mum is feeling unwell, but is breastfeeding, she may have concerns about what she can and can not take to help feel better: It is a fine balance between making sure you look after your own health and well being, and being careful about how it will affect your baby.
Can I take pain medication?
What about allergy medication?
Cold and flu medication?
Does the age of the baby matter? (for example less than 6 mths, 6-12 mths, over 12 mths, over 2 years?)
These are some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to breastfeeding and medications. Reading the information supplied with the medication can be confusing and frustrating. If you can find a breastfeeding friendly pharmacist, you can ask them for advice before buying, however even when asking a pharmacist, the answer is not always clear cut (especially, when they realise you are feeding a toddler and not a baby).
Some medications, such as pseudoephedrine (found in cold and flu/allergy medication) can reduce your milk supply, and may have adverse affects on your baby. Other medication, such a paracetamol, has been deemed safe, but codeine and asprin should be treated with caution. When used conservatively, not only will this medication be more effective (frequent use will reduce it's effectiveness). If you think you may need to take allergy medication, cold and flu medication, codeine or other seven stronger pain medication, call the relevant number below. You may even find the links below useful.
If you have questions about over the counter medicines (eg pain releivers, cold and flu medication), complementry medicenes (vitamins, minerals, herbal and natural medicenes), legal (caffiene, alcohol, nicotine) or illegal (canabis, heroin, ecstasy) drugs and environmental exposure you can call the medicine information centres and NPS Medicines line. Most of these centres operate during business hours, if you have an urgent query, you can call the poisons information Centre 13 11 26
Medicines Information Centre, Canberra Hospital 02 6244 3333
MotherSafe, Royal Hospital for Women, Randwick 02 9382 6539, 1800 647 848 (NSW country)
NPS Medicines Line 1300 633 424 *
Medicines Information Centre, Women's and Children's Hospital 08 8161 7222
Medicines Information Centre, Royal Hobart Hospital (Mon-Thu) 03 6222 8737
NPS Medicines Line (Fri) 1300 633 424 *
Medicines Information Centre. Monash Medical Centre 03 9594 2361
Medicines Information Centre, Royal Women's Hospital 03 8345 3190
Women & Newborn Health Services (KEMH) 08 9340 2723
All states & territories
NPS Medicines Line www.nps.org.au 1300 633 424 *
* NPS Medicines Line 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) 9am – 5 pm AEST
Poisons Information is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 13 11 26 (all states &
Some recommended links: