Can You Take Ibuprofen for ...
Having a new baby can be taxing, and there might be times when you have aches and pains you didn’t expect. Certain painkillers were not recommended during your pregnancy, but can you take ibuprofen while breastfeeding?
The good news is, that taking painkillers while breastfeeding is typically considered to be safe. Since every medication taken by a breastfeeding mother will cross into her milk in some capacity, here is a list of things to consider before taking any over-the-counter pain medication.
Is ibuprofen different than other pain medications?

One unique factor of ibuprofen is that it breaks down more quickly than other pain medications. This means that your body processes it out more efficiently and it does not have a chance to build up in your system the way that some other over-the-counter medicines might. Less build-up in your system means less build-up in your breast milk, making ibuprofen a good choice for breastfeeding mothers who are concerned about exposing their babies to pain medication.

What are the potential side effects of ibuprofen for breastfed babies?

In studies done with breastfeeding mothers, ibuprofen given in normal doses was never recorded as causing side effects for any of the infants studied, as only trace amounts were ever detected in the breast milk.
It is important to note that while ibuprofen is safe for breastfeeding, there have been recorded side effects of taking ibuprofen and other over-the-counter pain medications during pregnancy. Make sure to talk to your provider before taking any medications while pregnant.  

Should you take less ibuprofen than you normally would for your symptoms?

Since ibuprofen has been proven safe during breastfeeding in proper doses, you do not need to use less than you normally would, as long as you stick to recommended doses. You can always try taking less than a full dose and monitoring yourself for improvement of symptoms if you are hoping to limit the amount you need to take in order to feel better.

If your baby is also taking ibuprofen, will it get too much?

If your baby is taking infant ibuprofen for teething or other reasons, you do not need to worry about them getting too much if you also take a normal dose for your own symptoms. The trace amounts of ibuprofen found in breast milk will not typically add enough to make a difference for your baby.

Can you take Tylenol while breastfeeding? Is it any safer than ibuprofen?

You might be wondering if Tylenol (acetaminophen) is also a safe option to take while breastfeeding. According to the safety rating of acetaminophen, it is safe for most breastfeeding parents to take and will not cause side effects in breastfed babies. Both ibuprofen and acetaminophen are classified as L1 medications, which is the safest rating given to medications when it comes to breastfeeding compatibility.
Some parents may have a personal preference between these two over-the-counter medicines or sensitivities to one or the other. Always take into consideration your own history and reaction to any medication before using it during breastfeeding.

Tips for taking pain killers while breastfeeding:

1)Take the lowest dose you need to address your symptoms.

2)Consider combining medications with other pain-relieving practices, such as heat or ice when appropriate.

3)Avoid combining pain medications with alcohol or other substances.

4)Stay hydrated!

5)Use regular strength versions of the medication you use, avoiding extra-strength or time-released options.

6)Avoid unknown or high-dose herbal medicines.

7)Consider feeding your baby as soon as you take pain medication before you have a chance to metabolize it.  

8)Stick to pain medications that you have used before to avoid any allergic reaction or unpleasant side effects for yourself.


Should you ask your care provider before taking over-the-counter pain medication?

If you or your baby have any health concerns or a history of reactions to pain medication, be sure to have a thorough discussion with your care provider before trying any new medicine, over-the-counter or otherwise.
If your baby is full-term and healthy, your doctor will usually okay you to take over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen in appropriate dosages as needed. However, as with anything that has the potential to affect your breastfeeding journey, it never hurts to ask if you have any concerns or questions.


Taking painkillers while breastfeeding is generally considered to be safe when proper dosages for over-the-counter medications are used. There have been little to no recorded side effects of ibuprofen for breastfed babies. Acetaminophen is another pain medication that is generally considered safe during breastfeeding.
Keep in mind that if a pain medication has caused you to experience negative side effects in the past, it should continue to be avoided during breastfeeding. Safety precautions include following recommended doses, taking only medications that you need to address your symptoms, and sticking to regular-strength options.
Recommendations for pain medication during pregnancy are not the same as during breastfeeding, and any medication used during pregnancy should be discussed thoroughly with your care provider. As always, follow the medical advice you have received from your care provider, and avoid unknown or unfamiliar medications!