Hydrocodone and Breastfeeding

Before taking hydrocodone, nursing women should first consult their healthcare providers to discuss any potential risks. This medication has been shown to pass through breast milk, so be sure to watch for any unusual drowsiness or limpness in your child if your healthcare provider recommends taking hydrocodone while breastfeeding.

Is Taking Hydrocodone While Breastfeeding Safe?

It is not entirely clear if hydrocodone is safe for use by breastfeeding women. If you are breastfeeding or are thinking about it, talk with your healthcare provider before taking hydrocodone. The manufacturers of hydrocodone products generally do not recommend that women use such products while breastfeeding.

What Does the Research Say?

Until relatively recently, it was unknown if hydrocodone passes through breast milk. However, it is now known that the drug does pass through breast milk. As a narcotic, hydrocodone could cause significant problems in a nursing infant.
Hydrocodone is often prescribed to women for pain immediately after childbirth. In this situation, it is likely that only very little of this medication passes to the baby, since the mother is usually producing only very small amounts of colostrum. However, once the mother's milk "comes in," it may be a good idea to avoid (or at least limit) the use of this medication.
If you are taking this medication while breastfeeding and notice unusual, significant drowsiness, difficulty breathing, or limpness in your child, seek immediate medical attention.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should talk with your healthcare provider about breastfeeding and hydrocodone. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision about breastfeeding and hydrocodone that is right for you.
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