Good communication between you and your doctor is very important when considering questions about taking medications while breastfeeding. Both of you need good information from each other in order to make the best decisions for you and your baby.
- Be sure to inform your doctor that not only are you breastfeeding, but that this relationship is very important to you and your baby, and you don’t want to wean. Impress upon your doctor that you are willing to explore alternative treatment and that you are willing to go to some extra effort if it means you can avoid even a temporary interruption of breastfeeding. Give the clear message to your doctor that your goal is both to heal yourself and continue breastfeeding.
- Once the doctor realizes how important breastfeeding is to you and your baby, he or she may be motivated to do some more research and to consider other ways to treat your illness. Since there are very few drugs that are not compatible with breastfeeding, the doctor and you will probably be able to agree on a course of treatment that will not require weaning.
- If your doctor wants you to wean your baby because of not having enough information about a particular medication, ask that he or she consult. Wise physicians are open to learning from the most up-to-date information on the safety of medications while breastfeeding.
- Many decisions about whether or not a medication is needed fall into a gray area – for example, will a lingering cold clear up without an antibiotic or has it progressed into a sinus or chest infection for which an antibiotic is clearly needed? If you give your doctor the clear message that you take a lot of personal responsibility for your health and you are open to non-drug alternatives, the doctor is likely to be less quick to prescribe medication. Let your doctor know that you are asking for the benefit of his or her judgment, not necessarily for medicine. If, however, the doctor perceives that you expect to leave the office with a prescription, you are likely to get one.
- Talk to your pediatrician about medication prescribed by some other physician for you. Baby doctors who are supportive of breastfeeding are usually more familiar with information about drugs in human milk than specialists who see mainly adults or older children and rarely treat nursing mothers. If your doctor is unsure about whether a particular medication is safe to take while breastfeeding, ask the prescribing doctor to talk to the baby’s doctor.