Can You Take Pepto While Breastfeeding? Does It Work & Is It Safe?

  • Find out why breastfeeding moms may suffer from upset stomach
  •  Learn if Pepto Bismol is a safe stomach remedy for nursing moms
  •  Read through our list of recommended alternatives to Pepto 
  •  Bonus video: Pepto Bismol review

Are you having trouble with nausea, diarrhea, or other issues related to upset stomach?

Are you looking for something you can take while nursing your baby to help relieve some of these symptoms?

Can you take Pepto Bismol when breastfeeding?

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about taking Pepto when you’re breastfeeding your little one. We’ll help you understand what may be causing your upset stomach when you’re nursing your child and we’ll tell you about the effects Pepto may have on your baby and on you when you take it while nursing, too.

We’ll also make sure you know a few good alternatives to Pepto in case you prefer to stay away from taking it while breastfeeding altogether. So the next time you find yourself wondering, “Can I take Pepto while breastfeeding?” you’ll be prepared and ready to make a decision about what’s best for you and your little one.

Read on to learn more!

What Causes Upset Stomach While Breastfeeding?

First of all, if you’re experiencing upset stomach while breastfeeding, don’t worry. This is extremely common and is something that almost all nursing moms go through at least sometimes during the experience. However, if you’re not sure exactly what could be causing it, you may want to figure that out. There are a few different things you need to know about the type of upset stomach that may occur when you’re nursing your child.

the type of upset stomach
  • First-time moms almost always experience stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea after breastfeeding. It usually goes away after the first couple of months, but if it lasts longer than this for you, be sure to bring it up with your healthcare provider.
  • The hormone oxytocin that assists in milk flow also causes nausea and aids in digestion. Since more of it is present in your body when you nurse, it may cause more feelings of nausea than usual.
  • You could be dehydrated, so make sure you’re getting plenty of fluids to make up for the fact that you’re losing a lot more of them than usual when you’re nursing.
  • You may have low blood sugar because you aren’t eating enough to keep up with nursing your baby. Be sure you’re eating a safe and healthy diet for you and your little one both.
  • It is possible to become pregnant while breastfeeding. If you feel like you’re experiencing morning sickness, be sure to test for pregnancy.

Can Pepto Harm Your Baby?

So now you know a little more about what may be causing your upset stomach, but you may still be wondering, “Can I drink Pepto Bismol while breastfeeding?” If you’re feeling unclear on whether or not this is okay, check out the information listed below. You’ll be better able to make up your mind based on what your baby may experience when you take Pepto while nursing.

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    Pepto is a type of salicylate, which is a category of medication that can and does pass into breast milk. This type of medication includes aspirin, which is unsafe for children younger than teens to take. Your baby should not be exposed to salicylates at all if possible.
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    Rarely, Pepto in your breast milk could lead to Reye’s syndrome in infants or children. This is a very uncommon but fatal side effect. Although it doesn’t happen often, it’s a serious risk that should encourage you to stay away from any medication that contains salicylates.
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    If you absolutely must take Pepto, do not take it more than once at a time. Never take it for long-term use when you’re nursing your baby because the presence of salicylates will only build up in your milk over time.

Can Pepto Affect Your Body?

So Pepto may not be the best choice for your baby, but what about for you? Is there anything strange you may experience if you take Pepto while nursing your baby? Your baby’s health and safety should always be your number one concern, but it pays to pay attention to whether or not your own body is going to have any negative side effects from taking any type of medications while you’re nursing, as well.

taking Pepto while nursing
  • You probably already know that Pepto can be unsafe for moms to take during the second and third trimesters because it can cause bleeding problems when delivering your baby. However, there may be some other problems you could experience with taking Pepto even after your baby has been born.
  • It is not believed that the presence of Pepto in your body will affect your milk production or flow. There have been no significant studies on whether or not this is a concern.

What are Some Alternatives to Pepto?

Okay, so you’re probably not asking, “Can I take Pepto Bismol when breastfeeding?” at this point. You probably are well aware that it’s not a great option. But if you’re dealing with a lot of upset stomach issues like nausea and diarrhea, you want some kind of relief. While the National Institute of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend avoiding Pepto while nursing, there are several other types of medications you can try to help you deal with your stomach troubles. Check out our list below.

  • For diarrhea, you can take loperamide, which is the active ingredient in over-the-counter Imodium. Make sure you don’t take any types of Imodium that contain other medications, however.
  • For nausea, you should stick to natural home remedies such as peppermint oil or peppermint tea. Eat a natural peppermint (not the sugary candy variety) to get the benefits of this. Ginger tea or a piece of ginger candy may also do the trick. You can even find ginger gum that is intended for motion sickness but may help you with your nausea as well.
  • For heartburn or reflux, you can take several types of over-the-counter medications. Try ranitidine (found in Zantac), famotidine (found in Pepcid), or omeprazole (found in Prilosec). Just be sure you don’t take any of these if they contain other types of ingredients. It’s best to stay away from the “severe” varieties, because they may have other medications present.


So, can you take Pepto while breastfeeding? Probably not, and especially not more than one dose. It’s best and safest for you and your baby both if you just stick to herbal home remedies or take some of the other medications listed above if you’re dealing with stomach upset while nursing. And if you’re looking for further suggestions for alternatives to Pepto, you can always speak to your doctor, your baby’s pediatrician, or your pharmacist for more information.

Of course, if you’re reading this article and you’ve already taken Pepto, you don’t have to panic. This isn’t an instantly dangerous medication to take while nursing, but it is one you should probably stay away from in the future. It’s best to not take anything that contains aspirin or salicylates while nursing your child because there’s always a risk of lethal Reye’s syndrome occurring if you do. If you’ve taken Pepto already and your baby is fine, don’t worry! Just remember this information for the future and you should be good to go.