Keflex During Nursing: Is It Safe for the Baby?


It is said that once your become a mother, you get attached to another individual for lifetime. A mother is the one who provides nutrition and support to her baby. Hence mother should take care of herself as well as her baby. During pregnancy mother is attached to the child by a connection known as placenta. Placenta is responsible for transfer of nutrition, antibodies and drugs to the baby. Once the baby is born, for 6 months they should be exclusively breastfed. Breast milk includes important antibiotics which are responsible for lifelong immunity to the baby. Breast milk derives its nutrition from the food of the mother. Sometimes even some drugs are excreted through the milk; they may be proven harmful to the baby. One of the drugs which may be prescribed to you during pregnancy is Keflex; hence some information about Keflex is as given below.

What drug is Keflex?

Keflex is a common antibacterial drug generally known as Cefalexin; it belongs to the family of cephalosporin. It kills the bacteria by breaking its cell wall. This antibiotic is mainly effective against gram positive bacteria. The active agent of the drug is secreted in the milk. But there is no proven side effect on the baby. But as the metabolism of the baby is different from that of the adult the effects of the drugs are more in the baby.

keflex during nursing

Drugs and pregnancy

Pregnancy is responsible for high degree of metabolic changes in body. Due to which, a drug that was safe before may be proved to be dangerous now. Thus drugs are specially studied and classified according to their safety in pregnancy. They are classified as class A, class B, class C and class X. Class A are proved to be safe in pregnancy women. Class B are safe in animal studies but not proven on women. Class C are found to causes problems in animals but not in humans. While class X are not at all safe in humans, they are proven teratogenic. Keflex belongs to class B. Hence doctor will always suggest avoiding any drug as much as possible. But sometimes, the disease may be more problematic to the baby. At these times, the advantages have to be weighed against disadvantages.

Pregnancy and lactation

During lactation period many drugs are secreted depending on their metabolism in the milk. This drug may cause its effects in baby. But as the metabolism of babies and adults is lot different hence, the effect of drug may be more in baby. Thus the drug may be proved to be toxic in baby, even if it is normal in adult. Hence even during lactation, do not take any drug without prescription. Even the over the counter drugs should be asked to doctor. Keflex belongs to class B. Hence it is prescribes in pregnancy, after trying safer alternatives. It is highly effective and not proved to cause any dangerous side effects.

Keflex During Nursing: Uses and Side Effects


Being an antibiotic it is use against various bacterial infections. It is mainly active against gram positive bacteria. Normally the most common bacteria that a person can get infected with is streptococcus. Keflex is highly effective against it. Some of its used are-


Mastitis– mastitis means inflammation of the breast tissues. It is the most common cause to use Keflex during breast feeding. Mastitis is caused if-

  • if the milk is left  clogged in breast for long time,
  • due to tight clothing,
  • if the infant is not able to suck properly
  • if the teeth of baby prick the mother frequently

Mastitis symptoms

  • The breast swell and appear reddish-
  • Fever and chills
  • Rashes on the breast
  • Pain in breast
  • It appears like a large lump. But the infection in the tissues doesn’t pass to the milk.

If you are lactating then your doctor may first advise you to take precautionary care, like

  • wearing loose cotton clothes,
  • Holding baby in proper way for breast feeding,
  • Regularly making milk to flow in and out of breast and not letting it accumulate in the breast. Though it is painful, but this will relieve the tension. If it is still not cured, then doctor may prescribe you Keflex. Do take your antibiotics as prescribed. Do not stop them as soon as you feel better, it may cause the infection to reappear.

Urinary tract infection– urinary tract infections are common if you drink low amount of water. Be sure to stay hydrated. If you are breast feeding then doctor will advise you to take precautionary measures first then he will prescribe the drugs.

Skin infections– skin infections during lactation are also caused due to wearing of tight and synthetic material clothes. Prefer loose and natural material like cotton. It won’t cause irrrtation to your skin. Also prefer cotton cloth for your baby.

Side effects

In mother-

  • Diarrhoea– diarrhoea may be caused due to disrupted bacterial flora. Normally our gastro intestinal tract has many bacteria which are useful for digestion. But some antibiotics kill them along with disease causing bacteria. Hence due to problem in the digestion, women may get diarrhoea.
  • Headache– headache is a common side effect of the drug.
  • Vaginal discharge vaginal discharge is not that common. It is a rare symptom. But if this occurs, do consult your doctor.
  • Stomach pain stomach ache is a rare side effect. It should be reported to your doctor.
  • Easy bruising under skin– easy bruising underneath skin is due to broken capillaries and bleeding under the skin. It may cause inflammation, pain, redness and swelling.
  • Urinary retention- it is a very rare side effect.
  • Nausea and vomiting– these are common side effects. If vomiting is excess then you should consult your doctor.
  • In child-
  • Diarrhoea– diarrhoea is commonly seen in the baby. It is due to some amount of drug present in the breast milk.
  • Skin infection- sometimes baby may get rashes; it is a rare side effect though.
  • Uneasiness– babies cannot speak their symptoms but the uneasiness seems to make them irritated and cranky.

This was some information about the antibiotic. During pregnancy or lactation it is advised not to take any drug without prescription. If you have taken any drug then inform your doctor about it. Also antibiotic dose should be completed. The dosage should not be left in middle because the disease may reappear and be resistant to that drug this time. Hence take your dose properly. Wish you and your baby a healthy life!

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