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How Effective Is Domperidone for Breastfeeding?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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While domperidone mainly is used for treating gastrointestinal issues, it also is often prescribed to increase the milk produced by breastfeeding mothers. This is because it can signal the pituitary gland to make more prolactin, which is the hormone responsible for producing breast milk. This function sometimes leads doctors to prescribe domperidone for breastfeeding, but usually only after several other steps have been taken to let a mother successfully nurse her baby. This drug is not particularly effective in some instances, and it sometimes has side effects that affected mothers decide they cannot deal with. The effectiveness of domperidone for breastfeeding also tends to vary according to how long the woman takes the drug, because some only need it for a short time, while others need to stay on it the entire time they plan to nurse.

Few doctors are willing to prescribe domperidone for breastfeeding as the first step to improving nursing success. Instead, they may help the mother ensure that the baby has a good latch, or they might encourage her to hold the baby differently so both mother and baby can relax. In some cases, expressing milk more often than the baby eats might help increase the supply, so some doctors may suggest this tactic before prescribing a drug to help. In addition, some babies do not know how to suck properly, which is an issue that usually can be solved so it is not necessary to use domperidone for breastfeeding. If none of these problems is present and the supply still seems low, then this drug may be used.

Some situations can more easily be improved by this drug than others. For example, it has been found to be especially effective when used by mothers who notice a drop in their supply when the baby is about 3 months old. It also may work well for women who need to pump milk for their sick baby while he is in the hospital and unable to nurse, especially because many women notice a drop in supply after about a month of pumping. On the other hand, a mother may take domperidone for breastfeeding shortly after the birth of a baby who has to stay in the hospital when the mother goes home, but she may find that it does not work very well, because she has not yet properly established her supply. In addition, this drug is not considered particularly effective for women who want to nurse their adopted baby.

In general, women usually are encouraged to give this medication a chance to work before claiming that it does not help. Some women see results with regular domperidone dosage after just a couple weeks, after which they may be able to stop taking the drug while maintaining their milk supply. Others may have to continue using the drug for as long as they breastfeed to keep up the supply. Some women find that it either does not increase their supply at all or that the side effects of domperidone — including headaches, cramps and dry mouth — are too bothersome to continue taking the medicine.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.

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Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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