When is breastfeeding not recommended? Here are the cases in which it is contraindicated

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When breastfeeding is not recommended

Are there any particular conditions or situations in which you cannot breastfeed? In some special cases, the doctor may advise against breastfeeding the baby. For example, if you take certain medications or if you have been diagnosed with a medical condition. We see when breastfeeding is not recommended.

In this article

  • Contraindications to breastfeeding
  • Medicines and breastfeeding
  • When it is still possible to breastfeed

Contraindications to breastfeeding

Women with certain chronic diseases may be advised not to breastfeed or to take steps to ensure their health while breastfeeding. Eg:

  • women who have the diabetes they should monitor their blood sugar levels regularly, as they may need to reduce insulin and may need a snack before or while breastfeeding;
  • women underweight, including those with thyroid problems or certain bowel diseases, may need to increase calories to maintain their health while breastfeeding;
  • women who have undergone a breast surgery they may have some difficulties with breastfeeding in the past;
  • Babies who have galactosemia, a rare metabolic disease in which the body cannot digest the sugar galactose, should not be breastfed because galactose builds up and becomes toxic, causing liver problems, intellectual and developmental disabilities;
  • as the Ministry of Health explains, permanent abstention from breastfeeding for HIV-infected women is justified.

It is also advisable to temporarily suspend breastfeeding in cases where the mother is in such a health condition that she cannot take care of her child, or is suffering from a Herpes simplex virus infection in the nipple.

Galactosemia is detected by neonatal screening and early diagnosis allows immediate initiation of appropriate treatment and diet.

Read also: Medicines and breastfeeding: the guide of the Ministry of Health

Medicines and breastfeeding

Some medications are known to be dangerous for infants because they can be passed to the baby through the breast milk. Women taking certain medicines should speak to their doctor before starting breastfeeding, for example:

  • Antiretroviral drugs (for the treatment of HIV / AIDS)
  • Contraceptive drugs containing estrogen, until breastfeeding has been well set up and started
  • Cancer chemotherapy drugs
  • Drugs
  • Some medications prescribed for migraine treatment
  • Mood stabilizers, such as lithium and lamotrigine
  • Sleep medications.

Also, women who undergo radiotherapy they should not breastfeed, although some therapies may require only a short interruption of breastfeeding.

In general, before taking any medicine or even a natural supplement, it is important to ask your doctor if you can continue breastfeeding.

When it is still possible to breastfeed

You can still breastfeed if:

  • Do you have silicone breast implants: it is now known that, even with breast implants, it is possible and safe to breastfeed.
  • You have hepatitis: if you have hepatitis B you can still breastfeed safely, even before the baby is fully immunized. If you have hepatitis C you can breastfeed unless the nipples are cracked or bleeding, in which case it is advisable to wait for the nipples to heal.
  • Take some medications: Most medicines are safe in breastfeeding, but it is important to always consult with your doctor.
  • Fumi: Although pediatricians and doctors recommend that women stop smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding, smoking is not a contraindication for breastfeeding. However, it is important to try to quit and be aware of the short and long term effects that secondhand smoke can have on children.
  • Drink alcohol from time to time: Drink in moderation, limit alcohol consumption and try to delay breastfeeding for several hours after drinking.


  • Womens Health
  • WHO
  • Ministry of Health

  • breastfeeding
  • breastfeeding problems
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