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Breastfeeding and Medication Use

World Breastfeeding LogoSometimes a woman would really benefit from using a pharmaceutical — but she worries because she is breastfeeding. What is her friendly, neighborhood midwife to do?  Today’s breastfeeding list is a collection of tools to help you provide the best information to women who will use medications while breastfeeding.

If you haven’t heard of Medications and Mother’s Milk, you need to find a colleague with a copy and start pouring through the pages. You can buy the book or order an online-database subscription.  Which one is right for you will depend on your practice environment.

LactMed is a similar database housed at the US National Institutes of health. It includes pharmaceuticals and other chemicals for a more complete toxicology listing. This is a free resource, and you can access the information through mobile apps.

La Leche League provides information in an easy to read format for families.

de Swiet’s Medical Disorders in Obstetric Practice includes an Appendix of medications categorized by condition for easy reference.

UK’s NIH provides a specialist advisory service on Medicines in Lactation to both health care professionals and breastfeeding counselors. This link is worth checking out even if you don’t live in the UK — It has a great collection of lactation textbooks for those who would like a more thorough education.

Finally, e-lactancia is similar to LactMed, but allows users to search medical procedures such as X-ray. Results are in an easy to understand and easy to read format, making this a useful link to share with families.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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