Medications and Lactation: What PNPs Need to Know

Jennifer M. Marks, BS; Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RNC


J Pediatr Health Care. 2003;17(6) 

In This Article


Breast milk has consistently been confirmed to provide infants and children with unique, species-specific nutrients that are ideal for infants' immune protection, growth, development, and emotional well-being. Few maternal medications are contraindicated for lactating mothers and their breastfeeding infants. The recommendation to terminate breastfeeding to allow for effective pharmacologic treatment is usually unjustified and often reflects a lack of knowledge regarding medications and lactation. It is essential that PNPs begin consulting comprehensive evidence-based resources such as Hale's Medications and Mother's Milk (2002) about maternal medications and lactation to accurately determine the safety of a compound for mothers and their breastfed infants. Drug factors, maternal factors, and infant factors, taken together, can enable PNPs to effectively evaluate drugs and create the most comprehensive estimates available of the actual overall risk to the breastfeeding infant from maternal medications. PNPs are afforded a unique opportunity to prevent potential breastfeeding complications and/or early cessation of breastfeeding in lactating mothers that result from inaccurate assessment of a medication, helping to achieve one of NAPNAP's clearly defined breastfeeding goals in the near future.

The print version of this article was originally certified for CE credit. For accreditation details, contact the publisher. Elsevier, Inc., Journal of Pediatric Health Care, phone (800) 654-2452.


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