Have you ever been told you need to stop breastfeeding because you need medical testing or a medication? Or told that you cannot receive treatment until you are done breastfeeding? The good news is that most medications are compatible with breastfeeding, and for those few medications that are a safety issue there are usually acceptable substitutions. 7-12): “It is generally accepted that all medications transfer into human milk to some degree, although it is almost always quite low. Only rarely does the amount transferred into milk produce clinically relevant doses in the infant… Most importantly, it is seldom required that a breastfeeding mother discontinue breastfeeding just to take a medication. It is simply not acceptable for the clinician to stop lactation merely because of heightened anxiety or ignorance on their part. The risks of formula feeding are significant and should not be trivialized. In every pregnancy, a woman starts out with a 3-5% chance of having a baby with a birth defect. This sheet talks about whether exposure to benzodiazepines may increase the risk for birth defects over that background risk. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your health care provider. Benzodiazepines are medications that have been used to treat anxiety, sleeplessness, seizures, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal. Diazepam (Valium®), alprazolam, (Xanax®), clonazepam (Klonopin®), temazepam (Restoril®), and lorazepam (Ativan®) are some examples of benzodiazepines, but there are others. While it is best to study medicines individually, benzodiazepines are often studied together during pregnancy. You should always talk to your health care providers before making any changes in your medication. If you suddenly stop taking your medication, you could have withdrawal symptoms. We don’t know what effects withdrawal would have on a pregnancy.
Because of reports of effects in infants, including sedation, alprazolam is probably not the best benzodiazepine for repeated use during nursing, especially with a neonate or premature infant. After a single dose of alprazolam, there is usually no need to wait to resume breastfeeding. Xanax is a pretty popular medication that doctors prescribe for use with anxiety, panic disorders and the depressive episodes that can result from both of those.