Can You Take Motrin or Advil If You Are Breastfeeding?

Woman breastfeeding baby in bed
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Motrin and Advil are brand names for the medication known as ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, or NSAID. NSAIDs can bring down an elevated temperature, reduce swelling in the body, and relieve pain.


Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) is a prescription medication that has many uses. It is also available over-the-counter for the treatment of fever, muscle pain, and headache.

Motrin is one of the most prescribed medications for pain relief after childbirth. It is used to treat the pain and discomfort associated with uterine contractions (afterpains), an episiotomy, or a C-section. Additionally, it can help to relieve the pain of engorged breasts, plugged milk ducts, mastitis, and sore nipples.

Ibuprofen is also safe enough to be used to treat infants and children. Your child's pediatrician may prescribe ibuprofen if your baby gets sick or develops a fever.

Safety When Breastfeeding

Yes, it is considered safe to take Motrin or Advil if you're breastfeeding. Actually, ibuprofen is probably the best medication to choose for pain relief while you're breastfeeding. Even though this medication does enter into the breast milk, the amount that passes through to the baby is so small that it is nearly undetectable. This small amount would only be a fraction of the average dose that your child's health care provider would prescribe to your baby for the treatment of a fever.

Motrin is also a preferred pain medication for nursing women because, unlike narcotic medications, ibuprofen will not make you or your baby sleepy.


The recommended adult dose of Motrin or Advil is 400 mg every 4 to 6 hours. However, talk to your doctor before taking any medications, and always follow your doctor's recommendations.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • You should always talk to your doctor before starting any medications on your own.
  • Ibuprofen is a safe medication with almost no side effects reported. However, even with the safest medications, there are always side effects that you should watch out for.
  • If you experience nausea, dizziness, or stomach pain, contact your doctor.
  • If your baby develops diarrhea or vomiting, stop taking ibuprofen and contact your baby's doctor right away.


Briggs, Gerald G., Roger K. Freeman, and Sumner J. Yaffe. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012.

Lawrence, Ruth A., MD, Lawrence, Robert M., MD. Breastfeeding A Guide For The Medical Profession Seventh Edition.  Mosby. 2011.

Hale, Thomas W., and Rowe, Hilary E. Medications and Mothers' Milk: A Manual of Lactational Pharmacology Sixteenth Edition. Hale Publishing. 2014.

Sachs, H. C., Frattarelli, D. A., Galinkin, J. L., Green, T. P., Johnson, T., Neville, K., Paul, I.M., and Van den Anker, J. The Transfer of Drugs and Therapeutics Into Human Breast Milk: An Update on Selected Topics. 2013. Pediatrics; 132(3): e796-e809.

U.S. National Library of Medicine. LactMed: Ibuprofen. National Institutes of Health (NIH).