Breastfeeding: Learning outcomes

Last updated: Thursday, April 18, 2019

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to:
  • Describe the advantages of breastfeeding.
  • Outline the factors that affect whether a medicine is compatible with breastfeeding.
  • Give practical advice to minimise risks associated with the use of medicines in breastfeeding mothers, and know where to look for information.

You can download a PDF of this whole tutorial (without interactive elements such as Learning Exercises) and a one-page summary of key pointsone-page summary of key points.

You should allow 60 minutes to complete this tutorial, including Learning Exercises.


If you are a hospital pre-registration pharmacist, this tutorial may help you achieve GPhC performance standards such as these:
  • A1.6 Make decisions which demonstrate clear and logical thought
  • A2.4  Use resources effectively
  • B1.11 Provide information and advice appropriate to the needs of the recipient(s)
  • C2.1 Provide considered and correct answers to queries, founded on research-based evidence

If you are a foundation pharmacist, this tutorial may assist with meeting certain competencies from the RPS framework including:
  • 1.2 Need for the medicine (relevant patient background)
  • 1.4  Selection of the medicine (medicine-medicine, medicine-patient, and medicine-disease interactions)
  • 3.1 Gathering information
  • 3.3  Analysing information

Continuing professional development

Finally, here are some CPD activities you could consider:

 ★  Ask your Medicines Information pharmacist if you can complete a clinical enquiry about the use of medicines in a breastfeeding mother. Can you comment on the quality of evidence that you used to make decisions in this situation? How did it compare to the quality of evidence underpinning, say, the licensed indication for a medicine?

★  Accompany your women’s health pharmacist on their postnatal ward. What medicines are being used in practice by mothers who are breastfeeding their newborn infants? What do your information sources say about the compatibility of these medicines with breastfeeding? Ask about the breastfeeding support services available to women in your area: where can they go if they are having problems?