Medication to Increase Breast Milk Supply: Is It Safe for the Baby?

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There  are a number of prescription drugs that are designed to help increase the breast milk supply. C Metoclopramide (Reglan) and Domperidone (Motilium) are some of the most commonly used ones. These medications lead to a rise in the level of prolactin, which is a hormone that produces breast milk. Prescription of any of these medications will help with creating or increasing the breast milk supply for nursing mothers. In this article, we will discuss about the medications to increase the breast milk supply and if they are safe for you and your baby or not.

Medication to Increase Breast Milk Supply Naturally

medication for breastmilk

Why are these breast milk medications prescribed?

Some of the reasons why you may have been prescribed these medicines are:

  • When you are pumping for a baby in the hospital and the milk supply is extremely low.
  • You want to nurse your child again after you have weaned him/her.
  • For breastfeeding an adopted baby.

What are the most commonly prescribed medications for increasing breast milk supply?

Metoclopramide (Reglan) and domperidone (Motilium) are two most common medications that are used as galactagogues. Let’s discuss both of these in detail:

Metoclopramide (Reglan) for Breast Milk: How does it help?

This is one of the most commonly used medication for lactation induction and to increase the low supply of breast milk. The medication is used for the purpose of treating stomach issues, including reflux, nausea and vomiting.

Can it be problematic for the baby?

This medication however does travel to the baby through the breast milk. But there have been no such cases where it had caused any problem to the baby.

When can the results be seen?

Well, results can be seen in just a few days. As long as the medication is continued, the results will last and you may notice the difference in the milk supply once you stop taking the medication.

What are the side effects?

Sleepiness, headache and restlessness are some of the most common side effects of metoclopramide. However, there are also other side effects that are although less common but have proven to be more severe.

For how long is it advisable to take metoclopramide?

You can take the medication for as long as 12 weeks but not more than that. Also, anyone suffering from depression, asthma, high blood pressure, a seizure disorder should avoid its usage.

Taking metoclopramide in high doses over a long period of time can also result to Depression and tardive dyskinesia, as per The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Tardive dyskinesia is a condition that causes uncontrollable movements of the face or body. There have also been cases where the involuntary movements have not resolved even after the medication is stopped.

Domperidone (Motilium) for increasing breastmilk supply : How does it help?

This medication is used to treat gastric problems. Domperidone is not available in the United States but it is one of the most commonly used medications in Canada and other countries for stimulating the production of breast milk.

What are the side effects?

Headache, stomach cramps and dry mouth are some of the side effects of domperidone. In countries other than the U.S., this medication is considered to be safer than metoclopramide. Also, when we consider the long-term usage of this medication, it is considered to be safe.

There have been a number of cases associated with the intravenous (IV) use of this medication such as, heart problems and sudden death.  Therefore, it is considered to be unsafe, as per the FDA. It is thus illegal to sell or import this medication in the US. It can only be issued after a doctor submits a special request to the FDA.

Other medications

Some of the other medications that can help with increasing the level of prolactin in the body are tranquilizers such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and haloperidol (Haldol) and the blood pressure medication methyldopa. However, these medications are generally not recommended to the nursing mothers, for the side effects from these drugs can prove to be very dangerous.  Thereby, these are not recommended for increasing the milk supply.

Are there any side effects of these medications?

It is always important to consult your healthcare provider before you decide to take any medicines. This should especially be taken care of when you are pregnant or breastfeeding a baby. all medications have side effects and you cannot put your baby or yourself at any risk.

If your doctor decides that some prescription would be beneficial for you, and orders you to take it, make sure that you follow the instructions and do not take more or less than as prescribed by your doctor.

Another important aspect to consider is that you should also go for other measures so as to increase your breast milk supply, for instance, frequently nursing your child, removing the milk or pumping to stimulate the breasts.

Conclusion

These medications are generally considered to be safe for you and the baby, if you follow up with the instructions of your doctor and take these in prescribed amounts. However, a number of side effects have been noticed with ones who have exceeded the prescribed amounts. It is thus safe to consider this option if you have tried to increase your milk supply naturally and with herbal treatments but failed to attain any success. However, do consult your doctor to confirm if a prescription medication would be right for you or not.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5828930/

http://www.bcwomens.ca/Professional-Resources-site/Documents/CW500_2007_Sept_IncreasingYourMilkSupply.pdf

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women and Healthy Babies!!

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