Neonatal benzodiazepines exposure during breastfeeding

J Pediatr. 2012 Sep;161(3):448-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Apr 14.


Objective: To assess central nervous system depression and other adverse effects in infants exposed to benzodiazepines through breast milk.

Study design: A prospectively recruited, retrospectively assessed cohort study of mothers who contacted the Motherisk program regarding the safety of benzodiazepines and were invited to participate in a follow-up program regarding the effects of these medications on their infants during lactation.

Results: A total of 124 consenting women participated. Adverse outcomes, specifically sedation, was identified in only 1.6% (2 of 124) of infants and was not associated with benzodiazepine dose, number of hours breastfed, or any demographic trait. Mothers reporting adverse outcomes in themselves (26% [32 of 124]) were more likely to be taking concomitantly a greater number of central nervous system depressants.

Conclusions: This study supports the continued recommendation to initiate breastfeeding while taking benzodiazepines postpartum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / drug therapy*
  • Benzodiazepines / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Consciousness Disorders / chemically induced
  • Contraindications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Puerperal Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Tranquilizing Agents / adverse effects
  • Tranquilizing Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Tranquilizing Agents
  • Benzodiazepines