Can breastfeeding mothers take ibuprofen? What if the mother has COVID-19?

Can breastfeeding mothers take ibuprofen? What if the mother has COVID-19?
Pregnant Woman Caucasian

This week is breastfeeding awareness week in the U.K. In recognition of this, we’ll be posting a series of short articles on breastfeeding advice alongside our usual content.

The first one relates to updated information bulletin produced by U.K. Medicines Information Pharmacists on the 21st of May, 2020. You may download a copy of this bulletin here. Please take note of the disclaimer at the top of the bulletin.

In summary, here is what we currently know about breastfeeding and ibuprofen:

  • Ibuprofen is one of the painkillers of choice whilst breastfeeding
  • Only very small amounts of ibuprofen pass into the breast milk, and these amounts are far below the doses that would normally be given to infants directly
  • The properties of ibuprofen are such that there is no risk of it building up in the infant’s system.
  • There have been no side-effects reported in infants exposed to ibuprofen through breast milk
  • Ibuprofen is widely available to purchase as an over-the counter medicine and is also found in some cold and flu remedies.
  • This also applies to ibuprofen formulated as the lysine salt.
  • This applies to infants born full term and healthy. If an infant is unwell, or premature, or the mother is taking multiple medicines, then an individual risk assessment will need to be made.
  • If a breastfeeding mother is infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) it is still advisable for her to breastfeed her infant since the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any risk of transmission of the infection. For the latest guidance, see Public Health England.

The latest NHS advice regarding the use of ibuprofen to manage the symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) is available here.

MM Health

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