Breastfeeding and Medication Use in Kidney Disease

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2020 Nov;27(6):516-524. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2020.05.007. Epub 2020 May 11.


Pregnancy in CKD is a condition fraught with challenges including multiple medications, high-risk pregnancy followed by maternal and fetal compromise such as preterm delivery, and low birth weight infant. Breastfeeding is unique in its impact on the mother and the baby, their bonding, and future health implications impacting the society. Breast milk is produced specific for the infant by the biological mother. It changes in composition with lactation stage and leads to optimal growth of the baby including establishing circadian rhythms, getting protective antibodies, and establishing a healthy gut microbiome. Multiple hormones influence the composition of the milk. Lactation is maintained by removal of the milk. Blood-milk barrier allows for the specific composition of milk by transporting different sized molecules through different mechanisms. It is safe to assume that most medications will be found in some amount in human milk; however, the impact of that is usually not enough to justify stopping breastfeeding. When the mother's milk is not available, formula or donor milk can be considered. There are resources to guide the use of medications during lactation that the providers should be aware of and use, to guide medication and breastfeeding recommendations.

Keywords: Breast feeding; Kidney diseases; Lactation; Medication adherence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases* / physiopathology
  • Kidney Diseases* / psychology
  • Kidney Diseases* / therapy
  • Lactation* / drug effects
  • Lactation* / physiology
  • Medication Adherence
  • Mother-Child Relations