A child is the most important being in life. They depend on us to nurture, teach and guide them since they are incapable of doing it themselves. Their potential is unlimited and we do everything we can to provide our children with the very best. It all begins with the moment of conception through birth. We, as parents try to eat right and take vitamins to protect on unborn child. Once born, we attempt to limit the amount of harm that a child can be exposed to both chemically and environmentally. One way to accomplish this is by breast-feeding, so that the child shares the nutrients that can’t be replicated using formula. Breast-feeding mothers can take most prescription drugs without risking their babies’ health, though they should try to avoid certain painkillers, psychiatric drugs and herbal treatments.
Protecting our Children
In an effort to protect our children, women are advised to either stop breast-feeding or forgo medicines for treatments such as depression or anxiety. This potentially deprives both the mother and infant of important health benefits. Similarly, most vaccines are safe for nursing mothers and for their babies. The attempt is to limit the amount of prescription medication in the breast milk. Most drugs don’t get into breast milk in clinically meaningful levels by which that it can do harm. That is not to say that it doesn’t get into the breast milk at all. The stronger medications such as several narcotics, including codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone, are discouraged since they can show up at a higher leveland be passed on to the infant.
Based on new studies, some antidepressants, antipsychotics and drugs to treat substance abuse are considered worrisome while others are acceptable. For instance studies show that the antidepressants sold under the brand names Prozac and Wellbutrin show up in breast milk in higher concentrations than Paxil. So use of Paxil would be preferred for nursing mothers.
Herbal remedies are not much better and haven’t been studied appropriately. Mothers should not use the aphrodisiac yohimbe which has been associated with reports of deaths in children. Another example is that St. John’s wort, sometimes used for depression or anxiety, may cause colic, drowsiness or lethargy in the breastfed infant. As natural as it may seem, if it is not in fruits, vegetables, meats or fish, then avoiding it would be the best effect. With so much information out there and the desire to protect infants, one can always go to the National Institutes of Health database called LactMed for answers.
What have you given up during breast-feeding?