Breastfeeding While on Medication?

Updated on January 13, 2011
C.C. asks from Orlando, FL
11 answers

Ok Mommas,
I am getting conflicting advice from my health care professionals.
I am due in two weeks w/ baby #2, have been on Synthroid (for hypothyroid) and Toprol (for high blood pressure) since 2005. Was not on either medication when I had baby #1. Have been taking both meds during this pregnancy.
My question is if any of you have breastfed while on these medications or know someone who has? Ob said it should ne safe. Pediatrician said Synthroid ok, but Toprol possibly not, and I should ask lacatation consultant when I have baby at hospital. I was kinda hoping to know before then! I am not opposed to bottle feeding, but would like to give nursing a shot even though I wasn't very successful w/ baby #1. He was hungry all the time and I nursed exclusively for 6 weeks before I introduced formula and part time up until 6 months.
I've looked it up online and it is not very clear either.
Thanks Mommas!

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So What Happened?

Thank-You for all of the great advice. I left a message for my primary care doc today to see if there is an alternative to the Toprol and also saw my pharmacist who suggested Sotalol which is a level 2 medication.
I must mention I was NOT looking for unsolicited advice about whether or not to breastfeed. I am a grown, 43 year old woman and know all about the benefits of breastfeeding. That is why I would like to at least try and I didn't want to get into a big debate.
I thank-you for your time!

Featured Answers



answers from Miami on

I would trust the Thomas Hale info you've already received. His book is what lactation consultants use. Also, finding a good lactation consultant now could help allay some fears. Perhaps the 3 opinions could give you the final plan you need to have in place when baby #2 comes.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Tampa on

Toprol is an L3 - which is tested and safe in lower doses (50-100mg twice daily). For the first 3 months, just keep an eye out for a slower heart beat. Babies will have a very fast heartbeat, and it's something a Mom would notice anyways.

Synthroid is an L1 - the safest level.

L1 = safest
L2 = safer
L3 = moderately/mostly safe
L4 = possibly hazardous

Medications and Mothers Milk (and pregnancy) by Dr. Thomas Hale 2008

As for Baby #1... he nursed so much in the beginning to get your production going to the supply needed. Also, they are trying to get the hang of nursing and are going thru so many developmental stages the first 3 months and every 3 months after. Don't get discouraged about baby always wanting the breast - it's normal and if you supplement at that time - you will sabotage your own milk supply.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I'm a peer counselor with Nursing Mothers Counsel, and our hotline counselors have a copy of the Thomas Hale medication book. I had one of them check, and this is what the book said:

- Synthroid - L1: safest for breastfeeding
- Toprol - L3: pediatric concerns but no reports, but close observation advised. Does pass into breast milk in small concentrations. L3 category is listed as moderately safe, which means there are no studies in pregnant/nursing mamas. Minimal or non threatening affects have been found in moms who've taken it. If it's really needed for your health, it can be taken. Are there any alternatives? Propranolol is listed as an L2 alternative. Safer for lactation but not safer for pregnancy. Talk to the doctor who prescribed the Toprol and see if the Propranolol would be a good alternative while nursing.

Hope this helps! Glad I have access to the book :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

This link has info about the Synthroid (from

I'll come back after I find the other med:)

I did not see the other med by name, but here's the link to approved meds that are safe while BFing.


adding another link....for general BFing support and advice, I LOVE the Leaky [email protected]@b!! I'll link you the facebook page, but they also have a private forum (link on fb page). GREAT group with tons of great advice!!/TheLeakyBoob

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

with medication questions, it's always better to ask a pharmacist - that is their specialty. i will ask my husband(a pharmacist) about those two specific drugs when he gets home and let you know what he says. in the meantime, i'd encourage you to get in touch with a pharmacist that you trust.

my husband said to just be sure you're on the lowest effective dose of the toprol and be aware of any effects with the baby, but that you'll prob be just fine.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I was on another brand methyldopa while pregnant and I took after both my kids were born. Mine does get better after birth. I have breastfed for over four years.



answers from Tampa on

My friend stopped her blood pressure medication when her baby was born so she could nurse him. She was afraid to take it even though her doctor told her it was safe. Check the Mayo Clinic online and see what they say. You could also contact the Drug Prevention Center or the Poison Control Center. Both of those places should be able to tell you right away if it is safe or not to nurse while taking your medicine. It is in the babies best interest if you are able to nurse. Plus can save you money. I hope your find the information you need. Good Luck!



answers from Honolulu on

Well the toprol is not going to be. There are 3 types of drugs: the first 2 they have done studies on lactating mother and checked to see if they get to baby via milk. If they do not they are safe to breastfeed with (like your synthroid) and if they do get into the milk they are not considered safe for breastfeeding. The 3rd group is the one that hasn't been tested so they don't know one way or the other (Toprol... is in that group). You OB and Ped don't really know because they haven't tested it and they are making an educated guess. So whos gut do you trust more?



answers from Dallas on

Don't know about the medications but I will say breastfeeding is easier with #2 and, from what I can tell, your body makes more milk. I wouldnt wait until the hospital to ask - I like the pharmacist answer.



answers from Milwaukee on

Can you see if you can find a doc who is also a lac consultant?

I was taking a med that my OB didn't rec-but then I checked with my ped who is a LC and she was ok with it--turns out the only conflict my OB had was that the drug might make the baby sleepy...I was ok with that and it didn't end up being an issue anyway.



answers from Orlando on

There are medications that's for blood presure that won't hurt the baby, you can find it in whole food stores , doctors don't want to tell you because it'll put their pharmaceutical companies out if business . Check into it, if you must take the medicine and you want to breast feed, check out the health food store.

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