Understanding Benzodiazepines and Breastfeeding

4 April, 2024

The Specialist Pharmacy Service has published new information about using benzodiazepines during breast feeding.

Lorazepam and oxazepam are the preferred benzodiazepines during breast feeding, if clinically appropriate. Further information is outlined below.

For breastfeeding mothers, concerns about medication safety are paramount. Benzodiazepines, commonly prescribed for anxiety and sleep disorders, raise questions about their compatibility with breastfeeding. It’s essential for nursing mothers to have accurate information to make informed decisions about their health and their baby’s well-being. Let’s delve into the topic and explore what you need to know about benzodiazepines and breastfeeding.

Benzodiazepines and Breastfeeding: A Complex Relationship

Benzodiazepines are a class of medications primarily prescribed to alleviate anxiety, insomnia, and certain neurological conditions. While these drugs can be effective in managing symptoms, their use during breastfeeding prompts inquiries regarding their safety for the nursing infant.

Understanding the risks and benefits is crucial. Benzodiazepines can transfer into breast milk, potentially exposing the infant to the medication. However, the extent of this transfer varies depending on factors such as the specific benzodiazepine, dosage, maternal metabolism, and infant’s age and health status.

Expert Guidance and Recommendations

In navigating the complexities of benzodiazepine use during breastfeeding, consulting healthcare professionals is paramount. They can provide tailored advice based on individual circumstances, weighing the potential risks against the benefits of treatment.

The UK’s Specialist Pharmacy Service (SPS) offers invaluable insights into benzodiazepine use during breastfeeding. Their comprehensive article provides evidence-based guidance, empowering healthcare professionals and nursing mothers alike with accurate information to facilitate informed decision-making.

Key Considerations for Nursing Mothers

If you’re a breastfeeding mother considering benzodiazepine therapy, here are some essential points to consider:

  1. Consult Your Healthcare Provider: Before initiating or discontinuing any medication, consult your healthcare provider. They can assess your specific situation and provide personalised recommendations.
  2. Consider Alternatives: Explore non-pharmacological interventions and alternative medications that may be safer during breastfeeding. Your healthcare provider can help identify suitable options.
  3. Monitor Infant for Adverse Effects: Remain vigilant for any signs of adverse effects in your infant, such as drowsiness, poor feeding, or unusual behaviour. Promptly report any concerns to your healthcare provider.
  4. Practice Open Communication: Maintain open communication with your healthcare provider throughout your breastfeeding journey. Discuss any changes in symptoms or concerns about medication safety promptly.

Empowering Informed Decision-Making

Navigating medication use during breastfeeding can feel overwhelming, but with access to reliable information and guidance from healthcare professionals, nursing mothers can make informed decisions that prioritise both their health and their baby’s well-being.


Understanding benzodiazepines and their implications for breastfeeding is essential for nursing mothers seeking to balance their mental health needs with the well-being of their infants. By consulting healthcare professionals, staying informed, and considering alternative options where appropriate, breastfeeding mothers can navigate benzodiazepine therapy with confidence and peace of mind. Together with expert guidance from resources like the Specialist Pharmacy Service, we can empower breastfeeding mothers to make informed choices that promote both maternal and infant health.

Access the full guidance


Read through some of our other resources here: Ashtons Resources – Improving quality and compliance in medicines management