Interview with Wendy Jones: Breastfeeding and Medication expert

From: Interviewed by Georgina Simpson, Taken from our December '18 Newsletter

Interview with Wendy Jones; Breastfeeding and Medication Expert.


A frequent topic of concern for many breastfeeding mothers is whether it is safe to take medicines while still feeding their little ones.

Wendy Jones BSc, MSc, PhD, MRPharmS has spent most of her professional career addressing this issue, endeavouring to make clear to mothers what is safe to administer and what is not, working tirelessly to produce literature on the subject, and challenging the sometimes inappropriate advice given by some GPs.

B.M.M. founder Georgina Simpson recently interviewed Wendy about the subject.


Georgina: What made you decide to focus your work on drugs while breastfeeding?

Wendy: I was asked to update a four-page A4 information sheet as a pharmacist and a qualified breastfeeding peer supporter.  I stupidly put my telephone number on it and said anyone could phone!  The calls grew and grew and grew until now I’m answering around 10,000 questions a year.


G: You’ve helped thousands of women all over the country, where do you see your work going next?

W: Retirement?  I honestly don’t know.  I thought the publication of the books would take away the need for more information, but it isn’t working that way.  I have another project up my sleeve but can’t say what it is just now.  I’m stopping doing as much travelling and doing more webinars and live Facebook presentations instead.


G: What’s the most rewarding thing about your job?

W: Someone telling me that they have been able to continue feeding when all the professionals have said [it’s] not possible.  Sometimes they come up to me at conferences and I get hugs.  Even better is when the professionals involved take on the information and are supportive.


G: What’s your most frequently asked question?

W: Probably can I breastfeed after an anaesthetic.  I’m currently working with a national professional organisation to make easily available information available to all anaesthetists which will be amazing as it also influences painkiller use.


G: Contraception; anything we should be aware of when breastfeeding?

W: Some people react to progesterone and drop their supply even with the mini pill.  Despite the NHS saying you can take the combined pill I see a LOT of people whose supply stops dead if they do.  Watch your baby.

[The following link provides information on this]


G: Winter is coming; a little bit of guidance for cold remedies would be very beneficial!

W: Avoid oral decongestants and anything which says [it] can make your baby drowsy.  I recorded this Facebook live session recently which I hope helps:


G: What should a mum say to their GP if they refuse medication when information given by the drug network says it’s fine?

W: Show me the research evidence that contradicts this?  Can we consider the risks of not breastfeeding – engorgement/mastitis, baby not feeding from a bottle and becoming dehydrated, risk of allergy to cow’s milk?  What about the guidance on prescribing in NICE PH11?

[The following link provides information on this]


G: What are the most common myths/misunderstandings amongst GPs/other prescribers when it comes to breastfeeding and medication?

W: That the passage of drugs into breastmilk is the same as the passage of drugs in pregnancy.  That formula is safer than breastmilk with some medication in it.  That timing medication with respect to a feed works – it never does!


G: What annoys you most about your job?

W: I have to say – the arrogance of SOME doctors – not by any means all who are doing their best but the ones who say formula is better than breastmilk, that [the] term breastfeeding equates to spoiling the child.  Also, that some mums are reduced to tears by being told they have to stop breastfeeding – sadly I feel this is more common than women [being] told they have to breastfeed when it isn’t working/they have had enough and want to stop.  I suppose I could sum it up by saying mothers not being listened to and breastfeeding [not being] valued.


G: If you could give one piece of advice to breastfeeding mums about being prescribed medication, what would it be?

W: Don’t be concerned by the leaflet in the box which says don’t take if you are breastfeeding.  Don’t assume that healthcare professionals are right if they say you need to stop breastfeeding to take a medication without showing you research from an expert source that supports that (the BNF is not an expert source!)

[The following link provides information on this]

Keep spreading the word and maybe distribute this poster around your GPs and pharmacies:

Lots of love everyone, be proud of yourselves.


Wendy Jones is the author of several books including Why Mothers’ Medication Matters and Breastfeeding and Medication, amongst others.  Please check out her Amazon page at for more information.

Wendy can also be found on Facebook at and Twitter using the handle @BfWendy.