Antibiotic- can't' nurse- can't pump

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Antibiotic- can't' nurse- can't pump
Tue, 12-01-2009 - 6:11pm

Hello ladies,

I have an interesting problem. I was diagnosed with a UTI/Kidney infection on Sunday- the dr prescribed me an antibiotic that I can't nurse on (specifically to treat another problem as well). Anyway, my 6 month old, Jeff, has been nursing well, but in the last week I've been needing to supplement with formula after nursing, just 2 oz and then 4 before bed time. So, when the dr told me that I couldn't nurse on this med, I thought that we were heading to formula anyways- so why not. And now I'm having second thoughts. I would like to continue nursing if at all possible after my meds end (Sunday).

So, I have been pumping, but my supply is no where near what he is eating. I only get about 6oz in the morning (where he had 10oz of formula yesterday). I am only able to pump 3 times a day because I can't really work it around taking care of the kids and how I feel after taking the meds. I have until Sunday and then I can start nursing again on Monday. If I can keep a small supply up- is it possible to work it back up to a full supply eventually? Is it silly of me to be thinking about nursing again after a week off? Should I just resign myself to formula?

Thanks in advance!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Mon, 12-14-2009 - 5:03pm

As explained, you can rebuild your supply again. It is a matter of increasing the demand.

Even mothers who have totally weaned have been able to relactate, but it is more work again.

Remember, though, that the risks have been explained to you. Dr Hale is the authority on this. Has your doctor referred to his work? Because other than this, doctors are relying on drug companies who usually say to not BF and take their meds. (to Avoid prosecution for them, not because it IS unsafe for the baby)

You have been given the true risk based on Dr Hales work. You yourself are choosing formula, which is MORE risky than this drug for your baby. (Shows how little risk in this particular drug.) You are making your choice, which will involve spending more time and work afterwards, but yes, it can be done.


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Wed, 12-02-2009 - 8:02pm

Thank you for all of your information.

I spoke with our pediatrician who informed me of the same studies based on a 200mg dose a day. I am taking 1000mg a day. He recommended that I try to keep up my supply by pumping but not to breastfeed while taking this medication.

I will try to pump more frequently through the next couple of days, hopefully that will keep my supply from drying up completely. I am going to plan on getting blessed thistle and fenugreek and taking those on Saturday to try to get my supply back up before trying to nurse again on Monday.

Thank you again for your help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2007
Wed, 12-02-2009 - 2:37am

I want to clear up one thing on the medication (keep in mind this is for lurkers as well as you)- Dr. Hale rates it L3 (moderately safe) for BF moms. IT is also approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics for use in BF moms. In the 2008 edition of Medications and Mother's Milk, Dr. Hale states "Current studies suggest that the amount of Ciprofloxin present in milk is quite low." It is also used in pediatric patients and in that case the child would receive a higher dosage directly than through breastmilk. Under pediatric concerns he states to observe for diarhea and it was observed in one infant in studies. So this is not a medication that requires mom to pump and dump.

Formula comes with its own set of risks and we need to compare the risks of formula use (which is often considered to be L4 - possibly hazardous) to the risk of the very small amount of medication that is transfered via BM. Dr. Newman has compiled a list of well researched info on the risks of formula (and more are found regularly)

This is also from Dr. Newman on the risks of medication in general while BF:

"Over the years, far too many women have been wrongly told they had to stop breastfeeding. The decision about continuing breastfeeding when the mother takes a drug, for example, is far more involved than whether the baby will get any in the milk. It also involves taking into consideration the risks of not breastfeeding, for the mother, the baby and the family, as well as society. And there are plenty of risks in not breastfeeding, so the question essentially boils down to: Does the addition of a small amount of medication to the mother’s milk make breastfeeding more hazardous than formula feeding? The answer is almost never. Breastfeeding with a little drug in the milk is almost always safer. In other words, being careful means continuing breastfeeding, not stopping." more here:

Ultimately you need to decide what is right for you but I can tell you that I would continue BF and not pump and dump, there is just no need with this medication.

As to continuing to BF (if you decide to continue to pump and dump) then you really need to be pumping more regularly. More frequent but shorter pumping sessions are often better than longer sessions spaced further apart. So even if you can not break away to pump for a full 20 minutes (this is generally the max amount of time we recommend pumping) then adding in a couple quick 5 minute pumps will help you to maintain your supply. Ideally we would recommend mom pump every 2-3 hours during the day.

Yes it is possible to increase your supply, but it is easier to not lose it in the first place. I see no reason that you can not rebuild your supply and get back to exclusive BF but there is really no reason not to be BF in the first place.

To rebuild supply you will want to BF every 2-3 hours and possibly pump after BF as well. you can use the EBM as a supplement if necessary while rebuilding supply. Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle work best when taken together to rebuild supply (dosage here: ). In addition you can also eat oatmeal (even oatmeal cookies!) as for many moms eating oatmeal will give a small boost to supply.

Follow up with additional questions.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2007
Wed, 12-02-2009 - 12:54am

I am taking CIPROFLOXACIN. I looked at the website provided and it is moderately safe, and no risk can be ruled out. I did look at the link provided and read that as well and I can't risk transferring this to my little one. The dr and I did discuss putting me on a different antibiotic, but I would have to be on it longer and it wasn't sure to fix one of the problems I was having. CIPRO was a sure fix for everything at the risk of bfing and at the time I thought I was going that way anyway.

I have been pumping 3 times a day (morning, afternoon and evening). I usually can do 20 min in the morning, and 30 or more in the afternoon/evening (until I'm sure nothing more is coming out). I get about 6oz in the morning, and then 4-5oz in the afternoon and 2-3oz in the evening. Because of how my day works out (and how I feel on the meds) I can't pump more frequently then this. I plan to continue pumping while on these meds and I hope that I can work back up to bfing full time with some help. Do you think that's possible?

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2007
Tue, 12-01-2009 - 7:31pm

Can you tell us what antibiotic you are taking? Most antibiotics (and most medications in general) are fine to take while BF. We can look it up in Hale's Medications and Mother's Milk for you.

This is a list of just a few of the more common antibiotics and you will see that all of them can be taken while BF.

Also the amount of BM baby needs is only 1 ounce per hour (about 25 ounces in 24 hours) and it does not increase with age or weight as the amount of formula does. most moms get between .5 and 3 ounces per session when pumping (NOT per breast so getting 6 ounces in one session is twice the normal amount we would expect.

How often are you pumping? FOr how long and how many sessions in 24 hours? Try to aim for pumping every 2-3 hours.

Take a look at the info and follow up with the meds you are taking and any additional questions and we can go from there.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-11-2004
Tue, 12-01-2009 - 7:14pm
I would try to nurse again when you're done with the meds. When my oldest DD went on a nursing strike for a week my supply dropped but I kept pumping & when she started up again my supply went up too. I have never gotten as much pumping as I know they get when they nurse-I just think that's how it is for some people. Good luck!


DD 1/24/05