Mom’s Ask: Can I Take Aspirin While Breastfeeding?

Are you a breastfeeding mom and often suffer from headaches or pain?

Have you ever taken aspirin for your fever and body ache, but are not sure if it is safe to take while breastfeeding?

Are you looking for alternatives to taking aspirin while breastfeeding and want to know whether or not you should take it?

  • Learn why taking aspirin while breastfeeding may harm your baby
  •  Find out how aspirin could trigger Reye’s Syndrome in babies
  •  Plus more issues that may come from taking aspirin when nursing
  •  Bonus video: Can I Take Aspirin While Breastfeeding?

If you said yes to any of the above, read on to know about some of the serious side effects of aspirin while breastfeeding. We tell you in detail about the various health issues of taking aspirin on your baby and how it affects your little one, and also give you alternate solutions on what can help.

Can you take aspirin when breastfeeding?

Many people feel that it is alright to take an occasional small dose of aspirin, even while you are breastfeeding, as the effects from rare use of aspirin may not be that harmful to your baby. However, if medical experts are to be believed, when you are breastfeeding, it is always best to be safe than sorry. Avoiding aspirin while you are still nursing your baby is a safer option.

While you are breastfeeding, if you absolutely must use a pain killer, it is better to go for safer medicine alternatives such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. However, it is highly recommended that you take any medication only after speaking to your gynaecologist about the safe and taking a go-ahead.

Under what situations can you need to take aspirin even if you are breastfeeding?

Aspirin is a type of pain killer that helps to reduce pain, inflammation and even fever.

  • As a breastfeeding mother, you have to constantly stay up late and sit for long hours at a stretch to feed your baby. This can often cause pain and discomfort especially in new mothers.
  • Also, accompanied with the lack of sleep, this can cause or worsen your body ache or arthritis, and also lead to fever.
taking aspirin while breastfeeding

Some mothers take aspirin to bring down the fever and pain, to be able to breastfeed better. However, this can have potentially serious health effects on the baby.

What is Reye’s Syndrome?

Reye’s Syndrome is a serious and sometimes fatal condition in which the blood sugar level drops very low while the acidity and ammonia levels in the blood go up really high. Along with these fluctuations, it can also cause swelling in the liver and develop fatty deposits. In some cases, it can also cause swelling in the brain, which can then lead to seizures, unconsciousness or convulsions.

What is the link between Reye’s Syndrome and taking aspirin while breastfeeding?

While the exact cause of Reye’s Syndrome is not known yet, it is suspected that taking aspirin while breastfeeding can trigger the condition in a baby. As a result, doctors recommend that children who are younger than 16 years of age should not be given aspirin, whether directly ingested, or whether passed on through the breastmilk.

aspirin while you are still breastfeeding
  • While taking aspirin rarely while you breastfeed may not really have a serious effect on your baby, and may not lead to Reye’s Syndrome, the drug can still pass on to your baby through your milk.
  • It is estimated that when you take aspirin while you are still breastfeeding, about four to eight percent of the total dose that you take passes on to your baby. While this may otherwise seem insignificant, it can be a lot for a young baby.
  • Also, when you continuously take small doses of aspirin while you are breastfeeding, it can have a very serious effect on your baby. This is because, aspirin has a tendency to build up in your baby’s body. Your baby’s system is still not fully developed, and it takes time for the body to flush out the medicine from the system. As a result, constant exposure to aspirin can trigger Reye’s Syndrome.

Apart from Reye’s Syndrome, are there any other potential risks that your baby may face when you take aspirin while still breastfeeding?

Yes, apart from Reye’s Syndrome, there are various other potential risks that your baby could face, if you take aspirin while breastfeeding. Here are some of the health risks your baby could be expose to, if you take aspirin as a nursing mother.

  • Even if you take aspirin in low doses, it can make your breast milk act as an anti-platelet drug for your baby. This means that it will make it difficult for your baby’s blood to clot easily, the way it should, and this can be a very dangerous health condition for infants, and sometimes, even life threatening.
  • Once you take aspirin, the salicylic acid in the medicine gets excreted into your breast milk. If you take higher doses of aspirin, it will gradually lead to the accumulation of higher amounts of salicylic acid in your breast milk. One of the most common effects of ingesting breast milk that contains salicylic acid is a condition known as metabolic acidosis. It is a condition in which the levels of acids are too high in the baby’s body. As a result, the chemical reactions that will help your baby’s body to work properly get disrupted. In severe cases, this can lead to organ failure and prove to be life threatening.
  • Another very serious health condition that can affect your baby if you take aspirin while breastfeeding is thrombocytopenia. This is a very serious condition, in which your baby’s blood will not have enough platelets, the cells in the blood that help it to clot. While this may not be life threatening, it can still have very adverse effects on a baby’s health. If a baby is suffering from thrombocytopenia, it can lead to problems associated with proper weight gain and feeding, and your baby may become underweight and malnourished.
  • Fever is also a very common side effect in babies who are exposed to aspirin through breastmilk. While fever may not be a very serious health issue in most cases, if your baby regularly gets fever, it can affect his or her brain and lead to more serious problems.

Given the risks, should you even consider taking aspirin while breastfeeding or is this a definite no?

With so many health risks associated with taking aspirin while breastfeeding, it is always best to avoid taking it altogether.

  • While taking aspirin in very small doses may not immediately have an effect on your baby, it is always best to look for alternate solutions.
  • Also, if you take the medicine in very small dose, it might not have the desired effect at all, which could only make you take a higher dosage. Instead, you can try for safer alternatives to take care of your pain, inflammation or swelling.
  • Speak to your doctor about what pain killers and medicines are safe to take while you are breastfeeding. While paracetamol and ibuprofen are generally considered safe, make sure you check this with your doctor first.

If you absolutely find no alternative and have to take aspirin even while you are breastfeeding, take it right after breastfeeding to ensure there is some time lapse before the milk reaches your baby.




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