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Breast Feeding




My daughter is 13 weeks old. I have been exclusively nursing her since birth. My pregnancy brought on sevre acne on my neck and back which is now spreading to my chest and stomach. My doctor wants me to take an antibotic for 6 weeks to clear up the infection but I won`t be able to nurse while taking this medication. Is it possible to "pump and dump" the milk and eventually go back to nursing after the six weeks? Will I continue to have an adequate milk supply?


You have a very interesting question and I am glad that you have asked it. First of all, congratulations on exclusively breastfeeding your baby. I hope this has been an enjoyable experience for you and you know that your milk is providing her with the best possible nutrition and protection from infection. You don't mention what antibiotic your doctor is recommending but I assume from what you said that your doctor knows you are breast feeding and that this is important to you. I would ask you to check back with your doctor about the specific antibiotic that is being prescribed. We are learning a great deal about what drugs are safe for infants and it is possible that there is another antibiotic (especially if the antibiotic that has been prescribed is a new one) that has been found to be safe to use. Dr. Thomas Hale has written a book called "Medications and Mothers' Milk" (2002) that your physician could use as a resource to find the best drug for you.  If it isn't possible to find another antibiotic, you could "pump & dump" your milk and doing this for six weeks, although difficult for you, would make it possible to maintain your milk supply so you could resume breastfeeding when you are done taking the medication. By 13 weeks your milk supply is well established and this will help you. If this is necessary I suggest two things; first check with your pediatrician about an appropriate breast milk substitute, and secondly, contact a lactation consultant. You will need a medical-grade electric pump and you should express milk as many times a day as your infant was breastfeeding. The lactation consultant will be able to guide you on obtaining a pump and a double milk-expression kit (pumping both breasts at the same time will take less time) and will be able to help you problem-solve should you have any difficulty along the way. Also, she can help you decide on what type of bottle to use--there are many out there--you could do a web search yourself.

I wish you the best and commend  you for wanting to continue with your breastfeeding.

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Response by:

Donna   Dowling, PhD,RN Donna Dowling, PhD,RN
Associate Professor of Nursing
Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing
Case Western Reserve University