Safety in Lactation: Local anaesthesia

Laura Kearney, Regional Principal Medicines Information Pharmacist, Trent Medicines Information Service & UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory ServicePublished

Local anaesthetics are generally considered to be compatible with breastfeeding. They are used in a variety of clinical situations (surgery including Caesarean sections, labour and surface anaesthesia for minor procedures); some are used for a variety of nerve and spinal blocks.
It has been suggested that their use during labour may interfere with subsequent breastfeeding. However, this is controversial and not substantiated. Any risk to subsequent successful breastfeeding can be mitigated by good postnatal breastfeeding support.
Do not use topical anaesthetics on the nipple area as removal prior to breastfeeding may be incomplete, exposing the infant to high oral levels of local anaesthetic.