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Author: Dr Caroline Mahon, Dermatology Registrar, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2011. Acknowledgements: The article was reviewed and improved by the following people: Cara Hafner, RN, IBCLC Lactation Consultant Christchurch Women's Hospital, and Marcia Annandale, IBCLC. Independent Lactation Consultant, Christchurch, New Zealand. Updated by Dr Catherin Nelson-Piercy. April 2018. DermNet NZ Update July 2021
There are many proven benefits for infants and mothers who breastfeed. Breastfeeding should be encouraged and supported wherever possible. Women with longstanding or severe skin conditions should be counselled during their pregnancy about the care of their skin disease postpartum and specifically during lactation. Seeking advice from a lactation consultant is recommended.
Some medications used in the treatment of skin conditions are unsuitable during lactation. Alternatives should be considered if first choice dermatologic medications are contraindicated. However, there may be circumstances in which this is not possible due to the severity of the maternal skin disease and decisions with regard to breastfeeding should be made on a case by case basis.
Antibiotic use by a breastfeeding mother may be associated with gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, candidiasis, and drug rashes in the infant.
All topical antifungals are likely to be safe to use when breastfeeding. [see Topical antifungal medication]
For further information see Oral antifungal medication.
This is general advice only and correct at the time of publication. Specific advice should be sought before prescribing for the lactating woman.
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