It's normal to feel cautious about taking pain-relief medicines while you're breastfeeding your baby. Small amounts of any medicines you take can be present in your breastmilk, so it's important to check carefully before taking a pain-relief medicine.
Remember that many medicines can be taken while breastfeeding without harming your baby. If your Doctor has prescribed any medicines for you, it's important that you take them. If you're concerned, you can always talk to your Doctor, midwife or pharmacist.
Paracetamol is generally considered suitable for breastfeeding women. While small amounts of paracetamol may be present in your milk, it’s unlikely to harm your baby. If your baby was born prematurely, has low birth-weight, has a medical condition, or if you have any concerns, you can talk to your Doctor or pharmacist before taking paracetamol.
If you’ve given your baby a dose of paracetamol-containing medicine, talk to your pharmacist before taking a paracetamol-containing medicine yourself. If you take more than the recommended dose, go to your nearest Accident and Emergency department straight away.
Aspirin isn't normally recommended for use while you're breastfeeding. This is because small amounts of aspirin may pass into your milk. When given to children under 16, aspirin has been associated with a very rare but serious condition called Reye's Syndrome.
Ibuprofen is generally considered suitable to take while breastfeeding, as long as you don't have any conditions that mean ibuprofen is unsuitable for you. While small amounts of ibuprofen may be present in your milk, it's unlikely to harm your baby. As with paracetamol, if your baby was born prematurely, has low birth-weight, has a medical condition, or if you have any concerns, you can talk to your Doctor or pharmacist before taking ibuprofen.
Some medical conditions – for example, if you have a stomach ulcer, or if you've had an unpleasant reaction to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) in the past – mean you should not take ibuprofen. Always read the label carefully, or ask your pharmacist for advice.
If you've given your baby a dose of ibuprofen-containing medicine, talk to your pharmacist before taking an ibuprofen-containing medicine yourself.
If you take more than the recommended dose, go to your nearest Accident and Emergency department straight away.
Diclofenac is available from your pharmacist as a gel or medicated plaster that is applied directly to the skin. These should only be used in breastfeeding after discussing with your doctor as small amounts of diclofenac may be present in your milk. They shouldn't be used on the breast and should be used in small amounts for the smallest possible time.
Pain relief medicines containing paracetamol and ibuprofen are generally considered suitable for use while breastfeeding, as long as you don't have any conditions that mean these medicines are unsuitable for you. You can visit our paracetamol and ibuprofen pages for more information, or ask your pharmacist. Pain relief medicines containing aspirin, codeine and diclofenac are not suitable for use while breastfeeding without discussing with your doctor first.
• Consider paracetamol or ibuprofen for pain relief
• Talk to your pharmacist before taking paracetamol or ibuprofen if you've given your baby a medicine containing paracetamol or ibuprofen
• If you have any questions or concerns, you can always ask your pharmacist for advice