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How can I decrease the medication my baby gets while breastfeeding?

The steps below will help protect your baby from getting too much of your medication:

Talk with your baby’s doctor about ALL the medications you are taking. This includes medications you were taking before your surgery or delivery and any medication prescribed by another doctor, dentist or other healthcare provider while you are breastfeeding. Your baby’s doctor will tell you if it’s safe to use these medications while breastfeeding.

For the first few days, take your medication exactly as the doctor recommends. If you’ve just delivered your baby, you won’t have much milk for about the first four days. By the time your milk comes in, it’s best to manage your pain using Tylenol or Motrin. If you’ve just had surgery, your doctor will adjust your prescription to a level that is safe for your baby.

Breastfeed first. Then take your pain medication. The pain medication is at its highest level in your body one to two hours after you take it. It’s best to breastfeed just before taking your medication.

Call your doctor if one week after your surgery or delivery you still need your prescription pain medication on a regular schedule (every four to six hours) or your pain gets worse.

Do NOT take additional Tylenol. Tylenol (also called acetaminophen) is a common pain medication you can buy over the counter. Some prescription medications, including opioids, also contain Tylenol. If you are taking opioids or another pain medication that contains Tylenol, never take more Tylenol.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.