You do not necessarily have to stop breastfeeding when you are taking antibiotics although they are now generally prescribed less due to the increasing awareness of conflict in some organisms to antibiotics. Therefore the type of antibiotic prescribed, depends on the condition and the type of organism that is causing the symptoms or illness.
Many antibiotics the breast feeding mother is taking can cause the breastfeeding baby diarrhea, tummy ache or colic. However mothers are still advised to breastfeeding due to the fact the breast feeding value outweigh the temporary mild consequences. It should be noted though that exposure to certain antibiotics may desensitize the baby’s response to future doses although this is usually quite rare.
Strong or huge doses of antibiotics can cause thrush (candida) for the mother by killing the good gut bacteria. But it has been found taking supplements of live yoghurt or acidophilus can ensure a balance is kept.
The following antibiotics are generally agreed to be safe to consume by a breastfeeding mother:
Amoxycillin, Amoxil 250-500mg three times a day
Azithromycin, Zithromax, 500mg daily
Cefaclor, Distaclor, 375mg twice daily or 250mg three times daily
Cefuroxamine, Zinnat, 250mg twice daily
Cephalexin, Cefalexin, Keflex, 250mg four times a day
Cephradine, Velosef, 250-500mg four times daily
Clarithromycin, Klaricid, 250mg twice daily
Co-amoxiclav, Augmentin, 375-625mg three times a day
Co-fluampicil, Flucloxacillin 250mg + Ampicillin 250mg, Magnapen 500mg four times daily
Erythromycin, Erymax, Erythroped, Erythrocin 250-500mg four times a day. Must be with food
Flucloxacillin, Floxapen, 250-500mg four times a day. must be one hour before food
Penicillin V, Phenoxymethyl penicillin 250-500mg four times a day one hour before food
Trimethoprim, Monotrim,200mg twice daily
Certain antibiotics are administered intravenously. These are unlikely to be absorbed in adequate quantities into the breast milk so it is usually safe to continue breastfeeding. You should seek advice from your doctor If you feel too poorly to breastfeed, you may need help or need to use express or formula milk.
Tetracyclines, Oxytetracycline, Minocycline,Doxycycline
Long courses should be avoided wherever possible.
Some believe that these cause an unpleasant taste to the breast milk and the baby may reject it. However others have found that babies do not appeared concerned.
These antibiotics can change the colour of the breast milk. Breastfeeding can continue with doses of 200-400mg three times a day.
The relevance to breastfeeding is unknown although it is thought that short exposure through breastfeeding is unlikely to cause problems. However other antibiotics are preferred and considered less risk.
Whilst small amounts are excreted into the breast milk, they may cause haemolysis in G6PD deficient infants (rare enzyme deficiency). These may also alter the colour of the breast milk to yellow.
Vancomycin and teicoplanin
These are used to treat MRSA. Side effects can be severe an blood counts, liver and kidney function tests should be carried out with their administration. Currently there is little information on their effects with lactation so alternative methods of feeding should be considered.