Is Ambien Safe While Breastfeeding?

✔ Research-backed

A few women experience insomniaiA sleep disorder that makes it difficult to fall asleep or have a sound sleep. after pregnancy and may require medical intervention. Considering the importance of good sleep, your doctor may prescribe you to take Zolpidem or Ambien during breastfeeding. Zolpidem is a sleep aid sold under the name Ambien. It is used to treat short-term sleep issues in adults. However, if you’re asked to take Ambien while nursing, its sedative properties may concern you, and you may be worried that it may impact the wellness of your baby. Keep reading this post as we talk about Ambien, its safety, side effects, dosage, tolerance, and withdrawal during breastfeeding.

In This Article

Why Ambien While Breastfeeding?

Amniocentesis is a prenatal diagnostic test

Image: Shutterstock

Ambien is a sleep-inducing agent. Although the drug does not help maintain sleep, it is an effective sleep-initiating agent. Ambien has anticonvulsantiDrug that can treat epilepsy. and relaxant properties that help induce sleep. However, an overdose of Ambien can lead to potentially harmful side effects like hallucinationsiA phenomenon in which one may sense visuals, sounds, or smells that seem real but, in reality, are not. and amnesiaiRefers to loss of memories due to brain damage or disease. .

Ambien rarely affects breastfeeding women negatively. Doctors typically prescribe a 2-6 week course of the tablets to help treat insomnia in women. Ambien is the safest sleep-inducing agent for lactating moms.


protip_icon Caution
Go to bed right after you take Ambien and stay in the bed for the recommended hours (based on the medication that you are taking). Failing to stay in bed after taking the drug, may lead to drowsiness or memory, alertness, and coordination issues (1).

Side Effects Of Ambien While Nursing

Dizziness, Side effects of Ambien

Image: Shutterstock

Ambien can lead to many side effects, which include:

  • Sleep eating syndrome
  • A headache and withdrawal
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty in maintaining balance
  • Sleepwalking in rare cases
  • Might impair driving skills and lead to road accidents.
  • If you are a breastfeeding mom who likes to drive, avoid doing so if you are on Ambien.
  • An overdose might increase the risk of falling and induce cognitive defects.

There are many instances where moms stop breastfeeding their infants because they are taking Ambien medication. Breastfeeding is not only a beautiful experience for you, but for your little one as well. Breast milk is the safest milk for an infant. It protects the infant from many diseases. Most medicines are safe during breastfeeding, only a few have adverse effects. You don’t have to stop breastfeeding your infant in most cases.

protip_icon Caution
Some people taking zolpidem (Ambien) may experience life-threatening sleep behaviors, where they might sleep-walk and drive a car, cook, or make phone calls and have no memory of doing these upon waking up. If you ever indulge in any such unusual behavior, stop taking the medicine, notify your caregivers and see the doctor promptly (1).

Recommended Dose Of Ambien During Breastfeeding

The recommended dose of Ambien is 5-10 mg. Any overdose may induce breathing problems or irregular heartbeat. You might need to see the doctor if you feel dizzy. If you have a tendency to sleepwalk, make sure you avoid using Ambien. Studies say at 70mg the effects of Ambien can get worse. Make sure that you swallow the pill and not ingest it in any other way.

Tolerance And Withdrawal

When you develop drug tolerance, doctors typically resort to dose reduction over a few months to help ease you back to normal and minimize the withdrawal symptoms.

Is Ambien Safe During Breastfeeding?

If the baby looks excessively sleepy, talk to your doctor

Image: Shutterstock

Ambien provides considerable relief for moms who suffer from irregular sleeping patterns. While the effect of Ambien on milk production and on the breastfed infant are not well studied, Ambien has a short half life and amounts ingested by the infant are typically small and would not be expected to cause any adverse effects in older breastfed infants. If you are prescribed Ambien, discuss breastfeeding with your doctor. While taking Ambien during breastfeeding, monitor the baby for excessive sleepiness, decreased muscle tone and any slowdown or changes to breathing.

Maternal health is of prime importance during lactation.You need sufficient rest to take care of the infant and produce breast milk. Sleepless nights can trigger irritation, mood swings, anxiety and poor decision making. Sleep is crucial, as it helps repair the blood vessels and heart. Sleep deficiency can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart diseases, diabetes and even stroke.

The amount of sleep each breastfeeding mother needs varies but eight hours of sleep is considered the goal. As you will go through many emotional and physical changes after pregnancy, you need to rest well so that you can adapt to these changes easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does Ambien cause weight gain?

One of the reported side effects of Ambien is sleep eating. According to a Wisconsin Law Journal report, a woman with a sleep eating disorder gained weight after taking Ambien (2). Therefore, it is better to consult your doctor before taking Ambien if you have weight-related issues.

2. How long is Ambien in breastmilk?

Studies show that meager amounts of Ambien pass on to the breast milk, lasting only about three hours (3).

3. Can I combine Ambien with other medications while breastfeeding?

No, Ambien or Zolpidem should not be consumed with any other medication or supplementation, as these medications can affect each other and cause unnecessary side effects such as increased drowsiness (4).

It is safe to take Ambien during breastfeeding. However, you must only take it after seeking a doctor’s advice. If you are on this medication, observe if your baby shows any signs of excessive sleeping, altered breathing pattern, or decreased muscle tone. In that case, report to your doctor for prompt medical attention and confirm if you could still take an Ambien. An overdose of Ambien may impair cognitive skills and cause amnesia in the mother. Therefore, only take the suggested dosage of the medicine. Alternatively, follow a few simple home remedies so that you can sleep naturally without the use of any medications.

Infographic: What Are The Side Effects Of Ambien?

Ambien (Zolpidem) acts on the receptors present in the brain to help solve sleep issues. It is usually prescribed for short-term treatment of insomnia. However, you should be observant of the side effects of this medication to seek timely medical advice about its suitability, especially when breastfeeding. The infographic below lists some common side effects of Ambien. Keep it handy or share it with other nursing women.

possible side effects of ambien during breastfeeding (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Ambien treats short-term sleep issues in adults by inducing sleep.
  • Side effects like nausea, dizziness, hallucinations, and sleep-eating syndrome are caused by Ambien and it may also impair driving skills.
  • The recommended dose of Ambien is 5-10 mg.
  • Excessive sleepiness, decreased muscle tone, or breathing changes should be monitored in the baby while the mother is taking Ambien.
ambien during breast feeding_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Zolpidem.
    https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a693025.html
  2. Ambien Side Effects: Memory, Depression, and More.
    https://americanaddictioncenters.org/ambien-treatment/side-effects
  3. G Pons et al.; (1989); Zolpidem excretion in breast milk.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2612539/
  4. Taking zolpidem with other medicines and herbal supplements.
    https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/zolpidem/taking-zolpidem-with-other-medicines-and-herbal-supplements/
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Mindy Cockeram

Mindy CockeramLCCE, CLEC

Mindy Cockeram is a childbirth and breastfeeding educator with 11 years of experience. She currently resides in Southern California, where she teaches at a non-profit hospital. Her career began after the birth of her second child when she changed career direction and trained as an antenatal teacher with the National Childbirth Trust in London, England.
Read full bio of Mindy Cockeram