Demerol and Breastfeeding

Studies on breastfeeding and Demerol (meperidine) show that the medication passes through breast milk. The drug could cause breathing problems, difficulty breastfeeding, and sedation in nursing infants, especially newborns. If you are taking this product and breastfeeding problems occur, it is a good idea to ask your healthcare provider about different pain control options that are less likely to impair your baby's ability to breastfeed.

Is Taking Demerol While Breastfeeding Safe?

Demerol® (meperidine hydrochloride) passes through breast milk and can potentially cause problems for breastfed infants. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics considers Demerol to be usually compatible with breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding or are thinking about breastfeeding, talk with your healthcare provider before taking Demerol.
 

Demerol and Breastfeeding: What Are the Risks?

Demerol could cause sedation, breathing problems, and difficulty breastfeeding in infants, especially newborns. Newborns do not handle the medication well, and it may build up in their systems. This may be of particular concern when Demerol is given to the mother during labor and delivery (when it would pass to the baby through the placenta) and after the baby is born (when it would pass through the breast milk).
 
If you are having difficulties establishing breastfeeding and are taking Demerol, it is a good idea to ask your healthcare provider about different pain control options that are less likely to impair your baby's ability to breastfeed. Also, let your child's healthcare provider know immediately if you notice any Demerol-related problems in your baby, such as unusual drowsiness, breastfeeding difficulties, slow or irregular breathing, or limpness.
 
A single dose of Demerol (such as used during surgical sedation) is probably unlikely to cause serious problems, especially for women and infants with established lactation (those who have been breastfeeding for a while).
 
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