Breastfeeding and Medication (Paperback) book cover

Breastfeeding and Medication

By Wendy Jones

© 2013 – Routledge

336 pages

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Paperback: 9780415641067
pub: 2013-02-14
Hardback: 9780415641050
pub: 2013-02-18
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203082249
pub: 2013-02-11
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Sadly, women often feel they have no alternative but to give up breastfeeding, having been prescribed or purchased medication. In many cases, however, this is unnecessary. This book outlines the evidence-base for the use of medication during breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding and Medication presents a comprehensive guide to the most frequently prescribed drugs and their safety for breastfeeding mothers. Evaluating the evidence for interventions and using a simple format for quickly identifying medications which are safe or unsafe to use, it also highlights those drugs where there is inconclusive evidence.

Additional contextual information makes this the most complete text for those practitioners who support and treat breastfeeding women. It:

  • provides an overview of the anatomy and physiology of the breast together with hormonal influences in order to better understand how complications, such as mastitis, arise and inform the approach to their treatment
  • includes a section on conditions that affect women specifically when they are lactating where prescription of medication may be necessary
  • discusses the importance of breastfeeding and its advantages, as well as its disadvantages
  • explores how to support breastfeeding mothers, and presents a counselling model approach.

Taking into account the recommendations of NICE Maternal and Child Nutrition guidelines, this is an invaluable reference for all health practitioners and volunteers who work with, support and treat breastfeeding women, including lactation consultants, breastfeeding support workers, health visitors, GPs, practice nurses, pharmacists and midwives.


‘This book is carefully researched and comprehensive yet still easy to read. It will be a valuable resource for anyone prescribing to breastfeeding mothers including pharmacists, GPs and health visitors.’ – Sue Ashmore, Programme Director of UNICEF UK’s Baby Friendly Initiative.

‘Breastfeeding is very important for the health of both the mother and child. Interrupting breastfeeding may lead to permanent weaning of the child, who may refuse the breast after being off the breast for even a few days. Dr Jones’ easy to understand, evidence-based information on drugs and breastfeeding will help many physicians prescribe for breastfeeding mothers, and confidently encourage them to continue breastfeeding, rather than interrupt breastfeed which too often happens unnecessarily. This is a necessary text for all prescribers.’ – Dr Jack Newman, Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute, Toronto, Canada.

‘A true gift in every sense for anyone who works with breastfeeding women…it is a ‘must’ for every GP’s surgery, every health visitor’s and midwife’s office and every midwifery library.’ – MIDIRS

'The World Health Organisation and UNICEF strongly advocate the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding across the globe. It is crucial to ensure that women and families are equipped with the best available evidence with regard to taking medication whilst breastfeeding. However, there have been many situations in which incorrect, inappropriate and conflicting information and advice have been given, including recommending early cessation of breastfeeding. This book written by Wendy Jones, a pharmacist with specialist knowledge of lactation and breastfeeding, will be crucial in ensuring that consistent, evidence-based, culturally sensitive information is provided to breastfeeding women. The book will be invaluable to pharmacists, medical practitioners, breastfeeding supporters, lactation consultants, midwives, health visitors and maternal and child health nurses, across the world. I thoroughly recommend this book as a key resource for all practitioners who support breastfeeding women and their families.’ – Fiona Dykes, Professor of Maternal and Infant Health, University of Central Lancashire, UK.

‘…[M]y main reference book while on the ABM breastfeeding helpline and barely a session passes that I don't refer to it at least once to give mums information to take back to their GP or other healthcare professional. Wendy Jones has worked out the safety of hundreds of common drugs using a variety of methods and evidence sources, clearly referenced in this book, allowing mothers to make an informed choice about treatment, and giving prescribers the ability to really understand the safety of each drug for breastfeeding mothers. The reference section, which fills about half of the book, is clear and easy to navigate. It includes detailed information on Wendy's conclusions about each drug as well as references and explanations of specific instances of, for example, reported adverse reactions…lf this wasn't enough to make every doctor, health visitor, midwife, pharmacist and breastfeeding counsellor rush out to buy this book (and they should), Wendy has also written the clearest explanation of the importance of breastmilk that I have ever read…There is an excellent section about common breastfeeding/infant feeding concerns, both real and common myths, including mastitis, thrush, worries about low milk supply, milk intake, Raynaud's syndrome, colic and so on. The importance of good positioning and attachment is referred to time and again, together with their relevance to good milk transfer and how poor position and attachment can lead to a multitude of misdiagnoses which are then unnecessarily medicated. This underlines the real value of this superb book – the combination of a highly experienced breastfeeding counsellor and pharmacist to produce a depth of knowledge and understanding of the subject that I truly have not found anywhere else.’ – AIMS

'Wendy combines her wealthy of experience from these areas together in this well laid out, comprehensive and well researched book…For midwives and other health professionals working with breastfeeding women this book represents a valuable and easy to use resource that can clear up some of the confusing milieu and hopefully play a part in supporting women to breastfeed for longer and to meet their breastfeeding goals…and it would be a valuable addition to the reference library of midwives and other health professionals working with breastfeeding women' – Midwifery News

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1 1. Breastfeeding in Context 2. How does Breastfeeding Work? 3. Constituents of Breastmilk and Formula Milk 4. Understanding the importance of Breastmilk 5. Treating Conditions Related to Breastfeeding 6. Decision Making on the Safety of Drugs in Breastmilk 7. Professional Responsibility and Counselling Part 2 8. Information on Level of Drugs into Breastmilk 9. Conclusion Appendix

About the Author

Wendy Jones is an independent pharmacist prescriber with over 20 years' experience as a breastfeeding support worker for the Breastfeeding Network (BfN). She runs the BfN Drugs in Breastmilk Helpline and has presented widely to healthcare professionals, volunteers and mothers on this subject.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Nursing / Maternity, Perinatal, Women's Health
MEDICAL / Nursing / Pharmacology
MEDICAL / Pharmacy


Why not download our Routledge FreeBook Breastfeeding: Providing support for the challenges women face? This resource contains a chapter from Breastfeeding and Medication, along with a wealth of other information on breastfeeding.

Click here for more information, and to access this FreeBook.