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Should You Abstain From Ibuprofen When Breastfeeding?

author image Emma Linch, PharmD
Emma Linch started medical writing and communications while working on her Doctor of Pharmacy degree. She has authored and coauthored numerous articles for the general public as well as for healthcare professionals. As a pharmacist, she finds joy in helping people understand more about medications and general health.
Should You Abstain From Ibuprofen When Breastfeeding?
Mother breastfeeding her baby. Photo Credit: evgenyatamanenko/iStock/Getty Images

When breastfeeding and trying to decide on a medication to take for pain, a woman needs to consider a few issues. The choice needs to be something that will be safe for the baby, safe for the mom and also something that will not cause difficulties with the ability to breastfeed by decreasing milk production. The U.S. National Library of Medicine database LactMed states that ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is a preferred agent to treat pain or inflammation in breastfeeding mothers. However, you might want to talk to your doctor or your baby's pediatrician before deciding whether ibuprofen is the best choice for you.

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Ibuprofen Safety

Ibuprofen is excreted in breast milk, although the amount is very small. According to LactMed, a woman taking ibuprofen in over-the-counter recommended amounts would deliver far less than the recommended single dose of ibuprofen for an infant over a 24-hour period. The LactMed ibuprofen fact sheet further notes that adverse effects in infants of mothers taking ibuprofen have not been reported in at least 23 cases found in the medical literature, and there is no information regarding the medication having an effect on breastfeeding. Because it has been shown to be safe for both the mom and baby and has not shown negative effects on the ability to breastfeed, ibuprofen is a recommended agent to help with pain or inflammation in nursing mothers.

Warnings and Precautions

Despite its popularity and usual safety in the general population, ibuprofen can pose some potential risks for the mom. According to prescribing information approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there is risk of heart attack or stroke, particularly in adults with a history or risk of cardiovascular disease. For this reason, women with cardiovascular disease and those who experienced high blood pressure during pregnancy should consult with their doctors prior to taking ibuprofen. There is also a risk of digestive system bleeding when taking ibuprofen, and this can be serious.

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