Breastfeeding & Tylenol PM

By Paisley Parmer
Tylenol PM can be safe for breastfeeding mothers under a doctor’s care.

A new mother may find herself up at all hours of the night suffering from the sore and swollen breasts that come along with breastfeeding, even when the baby is fast asleep. Tylenol PM claims to provide relief from pain and sleeplessness, but it has side effects for the baby.

Purpose

A woman who is breastfeeding her baby may want to take Tylenol PM for a headache, a minor ache or pain, or nighttime sleeplessness. Unlike a prescription sleep aid, the effects of Tylenol PM only last for four to six hours.

Ingredients

Tylenol PM is comprised of 500 milligrams of the pain reliever acetaminophen and 25 milligrams of diphenhydramine HCl, the sleep aid. Acetaminophen is listed in the “American Family Physician” as a “recommended agent” for pain relief for mothers who are breastfeeding. Sedating antihistamines such as the diphenhydramine HCl in Tylenol PM are listed as an alternative medication choice, but are not on the list of safely recommended drugs.

Infant Side Effects

There is a risk of side effects for the baby if the mother takes Tylenol PM, due to sleep agent used. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) warns that the baby may become drowsy, irritable, cry for no reason or suffer from sleep disturbances because of the medication that passes through the breast milk. The “American Family Physician” suggests reducing the risks of these side effects by feeding the baby right before the medication is taken.

Mother Side Effects

Tylenol PM lists its side effect as drowsiness. A breastfeeding mother should take precautions and plan for someone else to take care of the child during the night in case she is unable to wake. Tylenol also states that it is possible to experience grogginess the day after taking the medication. How groggy one feels is dependent, however, on how long they the user slept the night before and other factors. The AAFP also states that the sleep aid portion of Tylenol PM can reduce the amount of milk a breastfeeding mother will produce.

Warnings

The makers of Tylenol PM warn that mothers should consult with their doctor before they begin to take the medication. Other factors that may influence the amount of medication the baby receives through the breast milk are prematurity and other medications the mother is taking.

About the Author

A full-time home educator and mother, Paisley Parmer is a Central Florida native. Parmer writes education-related articles with forays into travel and family-related topics. Her work has been published on various websites.