Additional Issues

Increasing Breast Milk Production

Sometimes there is not enough breast milk to completely feed the baby. Many different things have been tried to increase milk production. Breast pumps can be useful. Certain herbs such as fenugreek have been recommended with varying degrees of success. A prescription medication called reglan can be tried, but side effects such as dry mouth and restlessness have been reported. Lastly, a medication from Canada called domperidone has been purported to help, but this drug is illegal in the U.S.

Here is a link to a 2004 FDA warning about domperidone: http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/answers/2004/ans01292.html

Menstruation

It is normal for nursing mothers not to have their menstrual periods while breastfeeding. This is due to a low estrogen state. Other consequences of low estrogen are vaginal dryness, decreased sex drive and some degree of contraceptive benefit. The first menstrual period usually occurs about 4-8 weeks after weaning, but some women develop regular monthly cycles while continuing to nurse.

Medication

There is a general fear of taking any medication while breast-feeding, however, many medications can be taken with minimal risk. There is a great deal of information available on this subject. Of course you should discuss the particular details with your Pediatrician, but doing some homework in advance may be helpful.

The following substances and/or medications are felt to be safe to take while breastfeeding: alcohol in small amounts, B-Vitamins, Birth Control Pills, caffeine in small amounts, Codeine, Inderal, Motrin or Advil, Penicillin, Prednisone, Procardia, Progesterone or similar drugs like Micronor or levonorgestrel, Tylenol, Zovirax and many others.

Dr. Philip Anderson at U C San Diego has created a database on drug use during lactation for the National Library of Medicine at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT

UCSD also has a drug information service for breastfeeding women. Call 619-543-6971 (9 to 5 Mondays through Fridays).

Complications

If you develop redness, hardness and pain in one breast, especially with a fever above 101 degrees, this could be a breast infection (mastitis). If left untreated, it can progress to an abscess.

Please call the office right away if you develop any of these symptoms.