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Thread: Milk Safety Help!

  1. #1

    Default Milk Safety Help!

    I am looking for answers or resources for checking the timing of safety of my breastmilk. I accidentally had a drink this morning that had Panax Ginseng, L-Taurine, and Guarana in it, I was only thinking about the caffeine and realized the other ingredients once it was to late. Baby has not nursed as I am at work and pumping. I only drank a single 8 oz serving and have not had any more and do not plan to do so again at any point in my nursing journey. I am trying to find out when my milk will be safe for my baby to drink again. My doctor's office did not know and the number they gave me to call (Infant Risk Center) is closed until Tuesday. I want to ensure that I do not endanger my baby's health. I am hoping that after 10 hours it will be safe again as most other substances I have found listed 10 hours waiting. All pumped milk will only be used for milk baths and not feeding until I know it is safe. Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: Milk Safety Help!

    I looked ginseng up in Medications and Mothers Milk (Hale) (This is the resource the people at infantrisk use primarily. My copy is a little old- 2010.)

    Hale rates Ginseng as L3- moderately safe for breastfeeding mothers to take. This seems counter to some other "no ginseng for lactating mom" articles I have seen, like this one. http://drjaygordon.com/breastfeeding/ginseng.html Unfortunately none of those include details like dose or timing either.

    Hale notes the adult concerns, there are many but primarily nervousness, anxiety, morning diarrhea, inability to concentrate. There are no reported pediatric concerns, but of course you would look for the same possible side effects in a child. He says there is no data about transfer of ginseng into mother's milk. He does suggest that it should not be used for more than 6 weeks.

    You can find some info here, but it appears info on this herb and breastfeeding is very limited. Ginseng is obviously a very popular herb and I would suspect many lactating moms take it either without realizing it or because they do not realize some sources say not to. This does not mean it is entirely safe to take, but I think with such a popular herb if occasional normal dose ingestion by a nursing mom was typically any problem there would be much more information about that out there.


    Sorry I cannot find any relevant information L-Taurine.

    But the active substance in guarana is caffeine. When I put guarana into the lactmed database, it reroutes me to caffeine https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search2 Guarana has a higher does of caffiend than does typial coffee beans. Still, it takes quite a bit of caffeine ingestion by mom to do anything to baby, and the symptoms would be similar to the possible ginseng side effects.
    Last edited by @llli*maddieb; December 30th, 2016 at 01:27 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Milk Safety Help!

    Hey! I answered your post over in the Facebook group.

    It looks like the breastfeeding-specific concern about Panax ginseng is that it contains chemicals called ginsenosides that have an effect in the body similar to estrogen.

    Estrogen is known to suppress milk production when it is used in birth control pills. However, we don't know whether Panax ginseng can harm milk production, or what amount you'd have to consume for it to have an effect.

    So the risk to milk supply is theoretical, and if it did cause problems, it would probably only happen if you used ginseng long-term in large amounts.

    Most of the side effects maddieb noted are also associated with long-term use.

    You can read the LactMed database entry for Panax Ginseng here.

    I hope this all has been reassuring, but I know sometimes nagging worry sticks around anyway. If you're still not comfortable feeding your baby the milk you pumped as normal, I was thinking that maybe you could pool the milk you pumped for the day before dividing it up into smaller portions to store. That way, if there was some of the herbs in your system during the first pumping session after you had the drink, whatever small amount there might be in the milk would be spread out across all the sessions for the day and diluted to even lower levels overall. Does that make sense?

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