The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regards Tylenol (acetaminophen) as a medication that is usually compatible with breast feeding 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.
specifically classifies acetaminophen as a drug “usually considered compatible with breast feeding” and as mentioned above, showed no reported symptoms in infants who were exposed to it via breast feeding.
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
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. This study can be found here
Another study completed in 1981 echoed these results. The study reported that only 0.1% of the maternal dose was present in the breast milk after around 3 hours.
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. The amount of Tylenol the infant receives via the breast milk is almost 30 times LESS than this dose.
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 breast feeding. 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.