Research on breastfeeding and morphine has shown that this medication does pass through breast milk. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics generally considers morphine to be compatible with breastfeeding, the manufacturers of morphine typically recommend that women avoid the drug while breastfeeding. Morphine may pass through breast milk in large amounts, possibly causing problems such as constipation, drowsiness, and difficulty breathing in the nursing infant.
Is Taking Morphine While Breastfeeding Safe?
The manufacturers of morphine generally recommend that women not take morphine while breastfeeding. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics generally considers morphine to be compatible with breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding or are thinking about breastfeeding, talk with your healthcare provider before taking morphine.
What Does the Research Say?
Morphine passes through breast milk. Although it was initially thought that only small amounts of morphine pass through breast milk, there have been reports of infants receiving fairly large doses of morphine through breast milk. Serious problems could occur. Possible problems could include drowsiness, poor feeding (due to drowsiness or stomach upset), constipation, or even difficulty breathing. Despite these potential problems, morphine is often considered compatible with breastfeeding, especially in the immediate postpartum period (right after the baby is born).
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider
You should talk with your healthcare provider about breastfeeding and morphine. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision about breastfeeding and morphine that is right for you.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Package inserts for various morphine products (see individual products within eMedTV.com for further information).
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed January 16, 2009.
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