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Is It Safe To Take Ibuprofen While Breastfeeding?

Is It Safe To Take Ibuprofen While Breastfeeding?

Studies show that taking ibuprofen while breastfeeding is safe for both mother and baby. This will come as a relief to women who choose to breastfeed their children yet sometimes need an over-the-counter medication to relieve mild to moderate pain.

Why Ibuprofen is Safe

Ibuprofen has many characteristics that make it a safe choice for breastfeeding women. For one thing, ibuprofen is broken down quickly and easily in the body. It does not have the tendency to build up in the system like some other drugs do. Because of the body’s ability to metabolize it quickly, very little of the medicine winds up passing to the baby through the breast milk.

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What the Studies Show

There is ample clinical evidence that proves the safety of ibuprofen while breastfeeding. According to Drugs.com, ibuprofen has been the subject of several studies in regards to its safety for breastfeeding moms.

Two separate studies were conducted, one in which women were dosed with 400mg of ibuprofen twice a day, and another in which they were dosed with the same amount every six hours. Samples were taken of the breast milk afterwards and found no traces of the medicine in it.

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In a more sensitive study, breastfeeding mothers were given 6 doses (each containing 400mg) of ibuprofen over a period of 42.6 hours. Samples were taken of their breast milk at various points in the study. It was shown that, at its peak, there was only about 68mcg of ibuprofen found in the breast milk — the equivalent of about 0.2% of a regular pediatric dose of this drug.

It should also be noted that there have been 23 separate studies done on the effects of ibuprofen on breast-feeding babies. To date, none have shown any ill side effects.

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Warnings About Ibuprofen While Breastfeeding

Unfortunately, ibuprofen is not a silver bullet – and it is not for everyone. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has warned that women who have asthma or a history of stomach ulcers should not take ibuprofen, as it can make these conditions worse. Also, it recommends that women who have had a premature baby or a baby with low birth weight double-check with their doctor to make sure that ibuprofen while breastfeeding is appropriate for them.

It should also be pointed out that just because ibuprofen is safe for breastfeeding women does not mean it is safe during pregnancy. According to the BabyMed website, some doctors feel comfortable prescribing this for at least the first two trimesters, while some will prescribe it for all three. However, a few studies have associated its use with birth defects like gastroschisis (a newborn version of a hernia) and patent ductus ateriosis (PDA, which is the failure of a gap in the wall of the heart to close). Both of these defects are extremely rare, but their possibility has some physicians shying away from prescribing ibuprofen while a woman is pregnant. Many instead will prescribe acetaminophen as an alternative.

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On the whole, ibuprofen does appear to be one of the better drugs a breastfeeding mother can choose for pain relief. This news will likely come as a relief for women suffering from breast pain and other issues that require a mild, over-the-counter analgesic. If you need pain relief while still breastfeeding, ibuprofen is an excellent choice because of how well it is broken down in the body and because of how little of it passes through the breast milk to the baby. As always; however, a woman should consult her doctor beforehand to make sure that any medication — even if it is over-the-counter — is recommended if she continues to breastfeed her baby. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

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Brian Wu

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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