Is It Safe To Take Bactrim While Breastfeeding?

check_icon Research-backed

If you are a new mom suffering from infections such as a urinary tract infection or an uncomfortable condition such as constant diarrhea while breastfeeding, you may be quite uneasy. In such scenarios, you may consider taking medications such as Bactrim while breastfeeding. However, you need to talk to your provider before popping a pill during this crucial phase to avoid causing any potential side effects in your breastfeeding baby.

Read on as we tell you the recommended doses, drug safety aspects, and possible side effects of using Bactrim while breastfeeding.

In This Article

What Is Bactrim?

Bactrim is a combination of antibiotics

Image: IStock

Bactrim is an effective medication and combination of antibiotics, namely trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole, that treat several different kinds of infections that occur due to bacteria. The drug is a combination of one part of a synthetic drug popular as trimethoprim and five parts of sulfonamide drug popular as sulfamethoxazole. The unique combination of antibiotics curbs bacterial growth and cures your bacterial infection (1).

Is It Safe To Take Bactrim While Breastfeeding?

Be cautious about the safety of bactrim while breastfeeding

Image: IStock

Bactrim easily passes into the breast milk, so you need to exercise caution while using it. When you take the drug, the levels of sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim in your breast milk increase to approximately 2% to 5 % of the daily recommended dose for infant health. So, consult your doctor while going for Bactrim if you are in the lactation phase. So, consult your doctor while going for Bactrim if you are breastfeeding. If your baby has jaundice, is stressed, is ill, or is premature, he is at a high risk of bilirubiniXA yellowish pigment produced after red blood cell breakdown levels in a baby’s blood” ]and bilirubin displacement. So, avoid taking Bactrim while you are nursing.

Also, you should not take Bactrim if you are suffering from critical kidney or liver ailment, a history of low blood platelets due to trimethoprim, and anemia due to folic acid deficiency. Consult your pediatrician before you go for the drug while breastfeeding (1).

Benefits Of Bactrim While Breastfeeding

Bactrim is an excellent combination of antibiotics that can relieve several bacterial infections while you are nursing your baby. Here, we list some bacterial infections in nursing mothers that Bactrim can help treat:

1. Urinary tract infections (UTI)

Bactrim is an effective cure for urinary tract infections due to bacteria, such as E.coli, Morganella morganii, Proteus Vulgaris, Proteus mirabilis, Klebsiella, and Enterobacter. The drug interaction relieves the symptoms of UTI, such as a burning sensation while urinating, cramps in lower abdomen, foul-smelling urine, frequent urination, and blood in the urine. Nursing mothers should ensure adequate fluid intake and urinary output to prevent the risk of crystalluriaiXThe presence of urine crystals indicating kidney inflammation while taking Bactrim to treat a UTI.

2. Ear infections

Consult your doctor before taking Bactrim for ear infection

Image: IStock

Bactrim helps treat ear infections due to bacteria, such as Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumonia. However, lactating mothers should consult the obstetrician before taking the medication to cure any ear infection (2).

3. Chronic bronchitis

Batrim is prescribed for chronic bronchitis while breastfeeding

Image: IStock

Chronic bronchitis is one of the most severe respiratory issues, which only gets worse when it is due to Haemophilus influenzae or Streptococcus pneumonia. However, having an appropriate dose of Bactrim helps you cure this ailment effectively (3).

4. Diarrhea

Bactrim provides nursing moms relief from diarrhea and stomach upset due to Shigella sonnei infections, Shigella flexneri, enterotoxigenic E. coli, and traveler’s diarrhea.

5. Pneumonia

Bactrim cures pneumonia that occurs due to Pneumocystis jiroveci. The medication also boosts your immune system considerably.

Side Effects Of Bactrim While Breastfeeding

Stomach ache can be a side effect of bactrim

Image: IStock

Even though there are many benefits of having Bactrim, there is always a possibility that you may experience some side-effects of the drug. Here are some common side-effects of the medication.

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia or loss of appetite
  • Stomach ache
  • Skin rashes or allergies (4)
  • Hives
  • Itchiness

If you experience any of these side-effects while breastfeeding your infant, stop taking the medication and check with your doctor as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long will it take for Bactrim to leave my system?

Bactrim contains trimethoprim and sulfamethoxazole. The half-life (time needed for the medication to reduce to half the original dose) of trimethoprim is about eight to ten hours, and that of sulfamethoxazole is ten hours. However, people with renal issues may show elevated half-lives for both. Doctors may adjust the medication dosage if you have these issues (4).

2. Will Bactrim decrease my milk supply?

Presently, there is not enough research to confirm the effects of Bactrim on your milk supply. However, according to the CDC, most prescription drugs do not affect the milk supply. Nevertheless, seek your doctor’s advice before taking this antibiotic during breastfeeding (5) (6).

3. How long do antibiotics remain in breast milk?

Different antibiotics pass into the breast milk in different amounts. Therefore, not all antibiotics are safe during breastfeeding (7). Doctors usually prescribe medications that pass into the milk at low levels and do not adversely affect the infants. So, it is important to consult your doctor before taking any antibiotics during breastfeeding.

4. Are there any foods I avoid while taking Bactrim?

It is recommended to consume a safe, balanced diet to prevent any damaging side effects of Bactrim. Dairy, calcium-rich foods, fortified foods, and high-acid foods may interfere with antibiotics. Instead, include soups, lightly salted crackers, peanut butter, and fermented foods in your diet (8).

The medication Bactrim is an antibiotic used to treat several bacterial infections. However, a few studies state that the medication might pass through breast milk. Therefore, medical professionals may or may not advise Bactrim while breastfeeding. Consult your doctor if you show any signs of any infections rather than taking the medication by yourself. Follow the doctor’s advice on taking the medications. If you notice any side effects or doubt it affects your nursing, stop its intake and consult your doctor for an alternative medication.

Infographic: Precautions For Bactrim Intake During Breastfeeding

Although Bactrim is generally a safe antibiotic for breastfeeding women, there are certain restrictions and cautions to be considered to prevent the side effects. The infographic below provides a checklist of all the essential precautionary measures. Use it to ensure the safe usage of the antibiotic for you and your baby.

precautions for taking bactrim when breastfeeding (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Bactrim can enter into breast milk, so caution is advised when breastfeeding.
  • Consult with your doctor before taking Bactrim while nursing.
  • Bactrim can be used to treat pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, diarrhea, and ear infections in breastfeeding women.
  • Mothers with kidney or liver issues, low blood platelets, or anemia caused by folic acid deficiency should avoid Bactrim.
  • Typical side effects of using Bactrim while nursing include nasal congestion, vomiting, appetite loss, stomach pain, rash, hives, and itching.
Bactrim while breastfeeding_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

You may be wondering about what antibiotic can help treat bacterial infections while breastfeeding. The following video contains a few answers to this question.


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. BACTRIM™ sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim DS (double strength) tablets and tablets USP.
  2. Bactrim.
  3. LABEL: BACTRIM DS- sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim tablet.
  4. Sulfamethoxazole; Trimethoprim Tablets
  5. Bactrim.
  6. Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole
  7. Prescription Medication Use.
  8. Antibiotics and Breastfeeding.
  9. Antibiotics: Foods to Eat & Foods to Avoid;
Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.