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Breastfeeding and Medications

"Natural" Isn't the Same as "Safe"

Many women turn to natural and alternative medications instead of prescription drugs while breastfeeding, with the idea that natural products are safe, or at least safer. But often, this simply isn't the case. Some of the most dangerous poisons in the world are completely natural.
In addition, herbal medicines are not as tightly regulated as prescription or nonprescription medications, so make sure to choose a trustworthy manufacturer. Sometimes, less trustworthy manufacturers produce herbal medications containing no active ingredient, the wrong active ingredient, or the wrong amount of the active ingredient.
It can be very difficult to find good information about the use of natural medicines during breastfeeding. If you search the Internet, you'll find mostly anecdotal evidence (individual women stating their individual experiences), which can be interesting but is not particularly informative or useful. Most of the typical resources for breastfeeding and medication use information that contains very little (if any) information about natural medicines.
In general, our philosophy is that a natural medicine that is potent enough to be effective might also be potent enough to have side effects. We believe that, in general, breastfeeding women should use natural medicines with the same caution that they would use prescription medications.

Some Parting Thoughts About Medications and Breastfeeding

In a perfect world, every woman would be in perfect health and would never need to take any medications while breastfeeding. But life happens. Infections happen. Depression happens. Rheumatoid arthritis happens. Anxiety happens. Seizures happen. Sometimes, there may be medication options that are compatible with breastfeeding. Sometimes, the only suitable options simply aren't safe. Don't beat yourself up. Having a happy, healthy mom is the best thing for baby, even it this means having to formula feed.
And last, please ask your healthcare provider or do your own research before jumping to the assumption that you need to stop breastfeeding in order to take a medication. It's simply heartbreaking when we hear women tell us about unnecessarily weaning babies earlier than planned because they incorrectly assumed the medication wasn't safe.
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