Hale TW, Krutsch K. Medications and Mothers Milk.: Springer Publications; 2022

Johnson B. Polarity management: identifying and managing unsolvable problems.Amherst: HRD Press; 1996

Prevalence of maternal chronic diseases during pregnancy - a nationwide population based study from 1989 to 2013. 2016.

Jones W, Brown D. The Pharmacist's Contribution to Primary Care Support for Lactating Mothers Requiring Medication. J Soc Admin Ph. 2000; 17:(2)88-98

Jones W. Breastfeeding and Medication.: Routledge; 2018

How to advise women on the safe use of medicines while breastfeeding. 2021. (accessed 17 November 2022)

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. PH11 Maternal and Child Nutrition Guidance. 2014. (accessed 17 November 2022)

Sertraline and breastfeeding: review and meta-analysis. 2015.

Enabling women to breast feed. 2008.

Preventing disease and saving resources: the potential contribution of increasing breastfeeding rates in the UK. 2012. (accessed 17 November 2022)

Effect of kidney function on drug kinetics and dosing in neonates, infants, and children. 2015.

Drug use during breastfeeding. A survey from the Netherlands. 2004.

Association of prenatal medical risk with breastfeeding outcomes up to 12 months in the All Our Families community-based birth cohort. 2021.

Breastfeeding Is Associated With a Reduced Maternal Cardiovascular Risk: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Involving Data From 8 Studies and 1 192 700 Parous Women. 2022.

Breastfeeding in the 21st century: epidemiology, mechanisms, and lifelong effect. 2016.

Breastfeeding and medication for long-term conditions

02 January 2023
Volume 5 · Issue 1


As the number of women with chronic conditions increases, so does the number of women who will be breastfeeding while taking medication. General practice nurses have a key role to play in identifiying these patients, as they may not always volunteer this information. When prescribing to breastfeeding women it is important to be aware that some of the drug that she takes is likely to pass to the baby via breastmilk. Prescibers need to be aware of sources they can use to find more information on this topic, so that they can help patients to make informed decisions and keep the mother and baby dyad at the centre of the consultation.

In each general practice there will be women who have a chronic medical condition but who are also breastfeeding their baby. However, we may not know who they are. Contacts with mothers have shown that they may forget to tell their health practitioners. This has been particularly true with increasing numbers of video calls. It is also anecdotally true, according to social media groups, when women are continuing to offer breastfeeds alongside appropriate solid foods to older toddlers and children. Some women may wish to avoid conversations when they anticipate possible criticism, even though this concern may have no foundation at all. How we, as healthcare professionals, have fed our own babies, if we had them, may influence our feelings. Nevertheless, breastfeeding is a health promotion issue and not just a matter of providing milk for babies (Renfrew and Hall, 2008). None of us can know everything but we can take opportunities to increase our knowledge in areas which are important to families but in which we lack experience.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Journal of Prescribing Practice and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for prescribing professionals. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month