Can You Breastfeed While Taking Tylenol?

Tylenol (acetaminophen) is one of the most popular pain relievers available over the counter. It is considered safe and effective for mild to moderate pain relief. We recently received the following question regarding whether or not it is OK to take Tylenol while breastfeeding.

Question

If I am breastfeeding my daughter and take Tylenol cold medicine, do I need to dump my next pumping session?

Asked by Nickell On Sep 22, 2017

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Sep 22, 2017
Breastfeed Tylenol?

Overview

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regards Tylenol (acetaminophen) as a medication that is usually compatible with breastfeeding and is the pain medicine of choice if one is needed. While a small amount of acetaminophen does appear in the breast milk, it has not been associated with any observable changes infants that are nursing.[1]

Is Acetaminophen Compatible With Breastfeeding?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a document in 2001 titled: The Transfer of Drugs and Other Chemicals Into Human Milk. In the document, 'Table 6' specifically classifies acetaminophen as a drug “usually considered compatible with breastfeeding” and as mentioned above, showed no reported symptoms in infants who were exposed to it via breastfeeding.


Even though we know it is considered okay to use acetaminophen while breastfeeding, we looked into this further to get some more information on exactly how much is secreted into the breast milk.

Tylenol Safety While Breastfeeding - Studies

Now that we know that Tylenol is considered compatible with breastfeeding, let's take a look at the studies that back up that recommendation.

One study, completed in 1981, showed that only 1.51 mg acetaminophen appeared in breast milk 3 hours after 500mg (one extra-strength tablet) was given to the mother. This represents only 0.23% of the dose the mother took. No noticeable effects were observed in the infant.[2]

Another study completed in 1981 echoed these results. The study reported that only 0.1% of a dose was present in breast milk after around 3 hours.[3]

Both studies concluded that Tylenol use in breastfeeding mothers does not seem to pose a risk to a nursing infant.

To put these results in perspective, the recommended dose of Tylenol for an infant is 10-15mg/kg/dose. For a 10 pound baby, this comes to 45-68 mg dose.[4] The amount of Tylenol the infant receives via breast milk is almost 30 times LESS than this dose.

Caution With Certain Tylenol Brand Products

We do recommend caution with products that are brand name extensions of Tylenol. While Tylenol refers to the active ingredient 'acetaminophen' there are multiple Tylenol Cold products that contain multiple ingredients that may NOT be compatible with breastfeeding. Always make sure to read the labels on all Over The Counter products!

In addition, as everyone's medical situation is different, it is recommended to talk to your doctor before self-treating for pain while pregnant.

Summary

Tylenol (acetaminophen) is considered compatible with breastfeeding by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

References
  1. ^ The Transfer of Drugs and Therapeutics Into Human Breast Milk: An Update on Selected Topics. American Academy of Pediatrics
  2. ^ Disposition of acetaminophen in milk, saliva, and plasma of lactating women. PubMed
  3. ^ Excretion of paracetamol in human breast milk. PubMed
  4. ^ Elsevier ClinicalKey: Acetaminophen Monograph. ClinicalKey

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Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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