Hyperthyroidism and Breastfeeding

Excessive thyroid hormone is characterized by loss of weight (despite an increased appetite), nervousness, heart palpitations and a rapid pulse at rest. It can put strain on the heart, muscles, and nervous system.

Hyperthyroidism can develop for the first time postpartum and the ability to lactate does not appear to be affected.

Certain anti-thyroid medications are not concentrated in milk and result in minimal doses to the baby. However, baby will need to be monitored to check for lowering thyroid levels. If lowering levels would occur to baby, an alternative to weaning would be to give baby a thyroid supplement.

If radioactive compounds are used, breastmilk cannot be given to baby. Encourage mom to pump (which will further enhance elimination in her body) and have her milk tested with a Geiger counter before resuming breastfeeding.

By maintaining an attitude of partnership with the breastfeeding mom, we can assist her in her desires to continue to breastfeed, when possible.