Can I Take Tylenol While Breastfeeding?

Tylenol During Breastfeeding

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Whether you’re experiencing pain after birth, nipple pain, or a good old-fashioned headache, you may be wondering if it’s safe to take Tylenol (acetaminophen) when breastfeeding.

For most breastfeeding parents, it is safe to take Tylenol. This drug helps with aches and pains and helps to reduce fevers. Studies have shown that there are little to no impacts on infants of nursing parents who take Tylenol.

All drugs taken while breastfeeding are rated between L1 (safest) and L5 (contraindicated), a measure created by Dr. Thomas Hale. Tylenol is rated L1, meaning that a very large number of breastfeeding parents have taken the drug with no adverse effects, and/or the drug has been studied and fails to demonstrate any harm or risk to the baby.

Keep reading to see why doctors and scientists say it’s OK to take Tylenol for pain when breastfeeding.

What Is Tylenol?

Tylenol is an over-the-counter analgesic and pain reliever. Most people reach for Tylenol when they have body aches or pains, menstrual cramps, a fever, a cold or flu, or a headache.

“You can take acetaminophen for a number of reasons including fever, headaches, nipple pain while breastfeeding, c-section recovery pain, or vaginal delivery recovery pain,” says Navya Mysore, MD, national program medical director for Sexual & Reproductive Health at One Medical.

Nursing parents are not alone if they are experiencing pain after childbirth. Some may also be experiencing headaches from caffeine withdrawal if they have chosen to cut back while breastfeeding.

Tylenol is a safe and effective way to treat pain, even if you are nursing a baby. Keep in mind that Tylenol contains Acetaminophen, and is different from pain relievers like Advil and Motrin, which both contain Ibuprofen.

Is It Safe to Take Tylenol While Breastfeeding?

Tylenol is safe for breastfeeding parents to take while nursing a baby. “It is under the lowest risk category and is the safest,” says Cristina Gordon, a certified lactation consultant and counselor.

“Over-the-counter medications are generally safe to take while breastfeeding, but what’s more important is that you feel informed on what to ask what to look for when taking these medications,” Gordon adds. “Some parents feel comfortable taking over-the-counter medications while others prefer to turn to holistic remedies. There is no wrong answer; it is all based on the comfort level of the parent.”

While it’s important to research whether or not a drug is safe, parents should feel confident that Tylenol has been thoroughly tested and is safe. Therefore, a parent should not feel uneasy about taking this medication if they are in pain. “A mother’s health is a priority so that they can be the best caregiver and nursing mom to their baby,” says Gordon.

It’s important to read the label carefully, as different products contain different doses and have varying usage recommendations. For example, adults are directed to take two Regular Strength Tylenol Tablets 325mg every four to six hours, while the recommendation for Tylenol 8 HR Muscle Aches & Pain Caplets is two caplets every eight hours, with each caplet containing 650 mg of Acetaminophen.

Every breastfeeding journey is different. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider about your circumstances if you have any questions about taking Tylenol while breastfeeding.

Safety Precautions

One study states that while nearly all medicine is passed through breastmilk, most appear in very small amounts.

Furthermore, there are many benefits to breastfeeding such as helping baby grow and develop, reducing the risk of SIDS, and it is typically easier to digest than formula. For the parent, it helps develop a bond with the baby, reduces stress, and burns calories. These benefits outweigh any small risks to taking an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol.

While Tylenol is generally safe, there are some growing concerns that the use of the drug while pregnant can cause asthma, and has been associated with autism spectrum disorder in children. However, it’s still considered safe for both pregnant people and breastfeeding parents.

Do Not Mix Tylenol and Alcohol

You shouldn’t mix any medications with alcohol, and that includes Tylenol.

“The things that really should be mixed with medication are rest, hydration, and a whole-food diet that will allow your body to recover so that you can continue to produce milk,” says Gordon. “Our bodies burn a lot of calories and work extremely hard to nourish our babies, so if you’re feeling run down, the best thing to do is avoid any additional substances that may hinder recovery and try to allow your body to rest.”

Pay Attention to Dosage

As stated above, very small amounts of Tylenol may be present in breastmilk, so be aware of the dose you are consuming. "Keep in mind that low levels of the medication do pass into breastmilk, but studies have shown that these low levels are safe for your child,” Mysore confirms.

A Word From Verywell

Postpartum and nursing pains are very real for a new parent. While it’s up to you to make the best decision for you and your child, know that taking Tylenol while breastfeeding is considered safe. Reach out to a doctor or medical professional if you have additional questions on the medications you can take while breastfeeding.

5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Acetaminophen. In: Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed). National Library of Medicine (US); 2006.

  2. Lutz BH, Bassani DG, Miranda VIA, et al. Use of medications by breastfeeding women in the 2015 pelotas (Brazil) birth cohort studyIJERPH. 2020;17(2):568. doi:10.3390/ijerph17020568

  3. Berlin CM, Yaffe SJ, Ragni M. Disposition of acetaminophen in milk, saliva, and plasma of lactating womenPediatr Pharmacol (New York). 1980;1(2):135-141.

  4. Toda K. Is acetaminophen safe in pregnancy? Scandinavian Journal of Pain. 2017;17(1):445-446. doi:10.1016/j.sjpain.2017.09.007

By Dory Zayas
Dory Zayas is a freelance beauty, fashion, and parenting writer. She spent over a decade writing for celebrity publications and since having her daughter in 2019, has been published on sites including INSIDER and Well+Good.