Can Taking Antibiotics Harm Newborn While Nursing?

Updated on June 28, 2008
S.D. asks from San Jose, CA
5 answers

I recently gave birth to my newborn son about 3 1/2 weeks ago and last week I was given antibiotics for a possible U.T.I. (uriniary tract infection) to take for 10 days. My Ob had said that it was safe to continue nusring my 3 week old but when I go online to read about nursing while taking antibiotics they say there hasn't been a proven fact that the antibiotics can harm the newborn. I am kinda scared to nurse my newborn while on the antibiotics. Has there been any mom that had to take antibiotics while nursing? If so, did you run into any problems with baby and did you notice any signs in your nursing baby?

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answers from San Francisco on

Thomas W. Hale does LOTS of research on medications and breastfeeding. His book "Medications and Mothers' Milk" is probably at your peditricians office. I took atibiotics for a vaginal infection after birth which would have complicated the healing of my sutures. The medication labels always caution. If you have told your OB you are breastfeeding then just call you peditrician office also and tell them the name of the medication and they can check Hale's book for you. Most antibiotics are OK and have minimal if any transfer in your milk. They usually just caution to watch for diarrhea in your infant as a precaution. You have to be cautious about your sources on the internet. Scientifically, you can not prove that something DOESN'T happen. The scientific method doesn't work that way. However, if you have a prolonged untreated UTI the infection can move to your kidneys and that can cause problems. I was nervous also but checked with the peditrician and actually purchased Hale's book myself to check everything..



answers from San Francisco on


I took antibiotics while nursing. I felt a lot better and My baby had no ill effects. He did not even seem to notice. I paniced too. Then I weighed the risk of not taking them with taking them. I weighed on the side of taking them. My Dr explained that there is little research done on nursing moms because no one wants to take that chance either way.

hope you feel better.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi S.,

My name is P. and I gave birth almost 5 years ago to my son Seth and whenever anyone takes antibiotics child/paren you should take acidophilis I think that is how it is spelled it is billions of good bacteria that replaces what the antibiotic are destroying. Antibiotics destroy good/bad bacteria it doesn't know how to seperate. You can buy this at whole foods make sure it is refrigerated or it is not the real thing. You can find this in yogurt but you can't eat enough to put in your body what it needs. You can mix this with any drink it is tasteless and your baby will be fine also. My mother works in the pharmacy and you can call me if you like###-###-####
Take care & God bless you with your family




answers from San Francisco on

I want to preface my response with: I'm a acupuncturist here in the Bay area specializing in Endocrinology for men and women, esp. for fertility issues. Thus I end up working with both pre and post natal for all my mothers.

From an experiential point of view, we must remember that what ever nursing mothers ingest will directly affect the baby - it's how I treat nursing babies who get sick and why I prescribe whole food supplements to affect the nutrition of both the mother and baby.

It's not rocket science here - if you are taking antibiotics, your nursing baby will ingest them as well.

My question would be, have you sought out a licensed acupuncturist in your area to prescribe herbal formulas for you, rather than antibiotics? After 25 years of prescribing herbal "antibiotic/antivirals" it has been extremely rare that the patient needed the back up of a drug. My position has always been, "there is a time and place for drugs, but try more natural non-drug sources first - they have worked well for many a century.



answers from San Francisco on

This seems like a matter of weighing the alternative. Surely, it would be much more harmful to allow the UTI to fester. Those bacteria can multiply and be incredibly dangerous. Your newborn will continue to benefit from being breastfed. Keep in mind that babies are given antibiotics if they develop infections, even as newborns. I'm sure your obstetrician was very careful in choosing the antibiotic for you (and your newborn). In fact, some nursing mothers get infections in their breasts and must take antibiotics in order to continue nursing. I hope you'll get some relief from your UTI and will continue to nurse your newborn. Best wishes.

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