Do you need the drug? Be honest. Trying to tough it out for several days may actually decrease your milk supply, and you may not be a very good mother to your baby during this time. Taking medicine may often lessen the severity and duration of your illness, and in some situations, it’s absolutely necessary. If the medication is necessary for your own well-being, usually the benefits to you–and indirectly, to baby–will outweigh the risks of baby being exposed to a small amount of the medication in your milk.
On the other hand, if you have a minor ailment, such as a cold, consider alternatives to taking medicine. While nearly all over-the-counter cold remedies are safe to take while breastfeeding, many are only marginally effective. You may get more relief by treating your cold the old- fashioned way: steam, extra fluids, rest, and a tincture of time.
Another question to ask is do you need this drug? Often, if a particular drug is not safe to take while breastfeeding, or if little information is available about a drug, you and your physician may decide to treat your condition with another medication that is known to be safe. If there are several different drugs that can be used to treat your illness effectively, the doctor should choose the one least likely to affect your baby and your milk production. This may mean using older drugs rather than the latest thing from the pharmaceutical company.
If your doctor thinks it is necessary for you to wean because of a drug or a particular medical procedure, ask do you need this drug now? Perhaps you can safely delay the treatment until your baby is older or weaned. Drugs in breastmilk present less of a problem to an older breastfed baby. Yet if you’re planning to nurse until your baby weans herself, the day when you will no longer be breastfeeding may be a lot further off than either you or your doctor anticipate.