It is possible for anyone (mother or baby) to have an allergic reaction to just about anything. Watch your baby closely for any adverse reactions if you take any herb or medication.
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Keep in mind that most herbal treatments have not been thoroughly researched, particularly in regard to lactation. “Natural” substances are not automatically safe! Herbs are drugs, so it is necessary to use caution when using them.
Here are some suggestions for nursing moms when considering herbal remedies, from Ruth A. Lawrence, MD (author of Breastfeeding: A Guide for the Medical Profession):
- Avoid the pharmacologically active herbal teas. Drink any herbal teas only in moderation.
- Limit intake of any herbal preparation that combines several active ingredients.
- Always check the label. Even vitamins and simple echinacea may contain herbs that should not be used by breastfeeding mothers.
- Use only reliable brands that have ingredients and concentrations clearly marked on the label, as well as the expiration date and the name of the manufacturer and distributor.
- Be sure to check with your physician before taking any natural remedy, since it could interact with other medications you take or need.
Here is advice quoted from Frank Nice, Herbals and Breastfeeding:
- The nursing mother should take oral medications immediately following nursing, or right before the infant’s longest sleep to avoid nursling exposure to a drug at its peak plasma level.
- The nursing mother should take the lowest dose possible. She should always avoid extra-strength or long-acting formulations. Combination products present a special hazard.
- The nursing mother should know the use and side effects for all constituents of a formulation before using it. She should be aware of potential side effects and she should be able not only to monitor herself for side effects, but also to monitor the nursling for these side effects or unusual changes in behavior.