Last update: Feb. 20, 2015


Very Low Risk for breastfeeding

Safe. Compatible.
Not risky for breastfeeding or infant.

Opium-derived analgesic that is used through several ways of administration (epidural, intravenous, mouth, skin).

It is excreted into breast milk in non-significant amount without observed problems among infants from treated mothers. Plasma levels of those infants were undetectable.

It has been authorized for treatment of small infants and neonates.

After a mother has underwent anesthesia by the use of Fentanyl, she may breastfeed her baby as soon as her recovery and general conditions may permit it.

Fentanyl stimulates secretion of Prolactin, however, after Lactation has been established, Prolactin level has a poor relationship with production of mother's milk.

There is controversy about the effect of analgesic medication used for labor management (Epidural anesthesia with Fentanyl added or not ) on the initiation of breastfeeding, both on starting of phase II of Lactogenesis or the infant ability for suckling. Some studies have pointed out to a higher risk for a delay in the initiation of Lactogenesis II (milk coming in) for longer than 3 days after birth, even though it would not affect the weight loss of the newborn. Other studies have found a higher risk for a delay in the first latch-on at the breast, higher body temperature and irritability or somnolence.

Some others however, failed to show the same findings. It appears to be of more paramount importance the women's support for the establishment and continuation of breastfeeding, than the negative effect that would be exerted by administration of analgesia or anesthesia during labor.

Fentany has lesser effect than Pethidine (Demerol) on initiation of breastfeeding.

It occurs a higher milk production and weight increase of the infant if there is an adequate pharmacological control of the pain that appears after vaginal birth or C-section.

The American Academy of Pediatrics - says that is usually compatible with breastfeeding.


We do not have alternatives for Fentanyl since it is relatively safe.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Fentanyl is also known as


Fentanyl belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Fentanyl in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Bioavailability 65 %
Molecular weight 336 daltons
Protein Binding 84 %
VD 4 - 6 l/Kg
Tmax 0,1 hours
T1/2 2,6 - 4 hours
M/P ratio 2,1 -
Theoretical Dose 0,00006 mg/Kg/d
Relative Dose 1,2 %
Relat.Ped.Dose 0,1 - 0,3 %


  1. Reece-Stremtan Sarah, Campos Matilde, Kokajko Lauren, and The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. Breastfeeding Medicine. ABM Clinical Protocol #15: Analgesia and Anesthesia for the Breastfeeding Mother, Revised 2017. Breastfeeding Medicine. 2017 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Fleet J, Belan I, Jones M, Ullah S, Cyna A. A comparison of fentanyl with pethidine for pain relief during childbirth: a randomised controlled trial. BJOG. 2015 Abstract
  3. Shrestha B, Devgan A, Sharma M. Effects of maternal epidural analgesia on the neonate - a prospective cohort study. Ital J Pediatr. 2014 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Fleet J, Jones M, Belan I. Subcutaneous administration of fentanyl in childbirth: an observational study on the clinical effectiveness of fentanyl for mother and neonate. Midwifery. 2014 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Lind JN, Perrine CG, Li R. Relationship between Use of Labor Pain Medications and Delayed Onset of Lactation. J Hum Lact. 2014 Abstract
  6. Zuppa A, Alighieri G, Riccardi R, Cavani M, Iafisco A, Cota F, Romagnoli C. Epidural analgesia, neonatal care and breastfeeding. Ital J Pediatr. 2014 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Szabo AL. Review article: Intrapartum neuraxial analgesia and breastfeeding outcomes: limitations of current knowledge. Anesth Analg. 2013 Abstract
  8. ASGE Standard of Practice Committee, Shergill AK, Ben-Menachem T, Chandrasekhara V, Chathadi K, Decker GA, Evans JA, Early DS, Fanelli RD, Fisher DA, Foley KQ, Fukami N, Hwang JH, Jain R, Jue TL, Khan KM, Lightdale J, Pasha SF, Sharaf RN, Dominitz JA, Cash BD. Guidelines for endoscopy in pregnant and lactating women. Gastrointest Endosc. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases; American College of Gastroenterology; American Gastroenterological Association Institute; American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy; Society for Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Vargo JJ, DeLegge MH, Feld AD, Gerstenberger PD, Kwo PY, Lightdale JR, Nuccio S, Rex DK, Schiller LR. Multisociety sedation curriculum for gastrointestinal endoscopy. Gastroenterology. 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  10. Gizzo S, Di Gangi S, Saccardi C, Patrelli TS, Paccagnella G, Sansone L, Barbara F, D'Antona D, Nardelli GB. Epidural analgesia during labor: impact on delivery outcome, neonatal well-being, and early breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2012 Aug;7:262-8. Abstract
  11. Reynolds F. Labour analgesia and the baby: good news is no news. Int J Obstet Anesth. 2011 Abstract
  12. Wilson MJ, MacArthur C, Cooper GM, Bick D, Moore PA, Shennan A; COMET Study Group UK. Epidural analgesia and breastfeeding: a randomised controlled trial of epidural techniques with and without fentanyl and a non-epidural comparison group. Anaesthesia. 2010 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  13. Wieczorek PM, Guest S, Balki M, Shah V, Carvalho JC. Breastfeeding success rate after vaginal delivery can be high despite the use of epidural fentanyl: an observational cohort study. Int J Obstet Anesth. 2010 Jul;19(3):273-7. Abstract
  14. Cohen RS. Fentanyl transdermal analgesia during pregnancy and lactation. J Hum Lact. 2009 Abstract
  15. Goma HM, Said RN, El-Ela AM. Study of the newborn feeding behaviors and fentanyl concentration in colostrum after an analgesic dose of epidural and intravenous fentanyl in cesarean section. Saudi Med J. 2008 May;29(5):678-82. Abstract
  16. Camann W. Labor analgesia and breast feeding: avoid parenteral narcotics and provide lactation support. Int J Obstet Anesth. 2007 Abstract
  17. Nitsun M, Szokol JW, Saleh HJ, Murphy GS, Vender JS, Luong L, Raikoff K, Avram MJ. Pharmacokinetics of midazolam, propofol, and fentanyl transfer to human breast milk. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Abstract
  18. Howie WO, McMullen PC. Breastfeeding problems following anesthetic administration. J Perinat Educ. 2006 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  19. Mahadevan U, Kane S. American gastroenterological association institute technical review on the use of gastrointestinal medications in pregnancy. Gastroenterology. 2006 Jul;131(1):283-311. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  20. Torvaldsen S, Roberts CL, Simpson JM, Thompson JF, Ellwood DA. Intrapartum epidural analgesia and breastfeeding: a prospective cohort study. Int Breastfeed J. 2006 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  21. Beilin Y, Bodian CA, Weiser J, Hossain S, Arnold I, Feierman DE, Martin G, Holzman I. Effect of labor epidural analgesia with and without fentanyl on infant breast-feeding: a prospective, randomized, double-blind study. Anesthesiology. 2005 Abstract
  22. Halpern SH, Ioscovich A. Epidural analgesia and breast-feeding. Anesthesiology. 2005 Abstract
  23. Wang BP, Li QL, Hu YF. [Impact of epidural anesthesia during delivery on breast feeding]. Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao. 2005 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  24. Jordan S, Emery S, Bradshaw C, Watkins A, Friswell W. The impact of intrapartum analgesia on infant feeding. BJOG. 2005 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  25. Chang ZM, Heaman MI. Epidural analgesia during labor and delivery: effects on the initiation and continuation of effective breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 2005 Abstract
  26. Radzyminski S. The effect of ultra low dose epidural analgesia on newborn breastfeeding behaviors. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2003 Abstract
  27. AAP - American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs. Transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human milk. Pediatrics. 2001 Sep;108(3):776-89. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  28. Lee JJ, Rubin AP. Breast feeding and anaesthesia. Anaesthesia. 1993 Jul;48(7):616-25. Review. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  29. Steer PL, Biddle CJ, Marley WS, Lantz RK, Sulik PL. Concentration of fentanyl in colostrum after an analgesic dose. Can J Anaesth. 1992 Abstract Full text (in our servers)
  30. Leuschen MP, Wolf LJ, Rayburn WF. Fentanyl excretion in breast milk. Clin Pharm. 1990 Abstract
  31. Frecska E, Arato M, Banki CM, Mohari K, Perenyi A, Bagdy G, Fekete MI. Prolactin response to fentanyl in depression. Biol Psychiatry. 1989 Abstract
  32. Madej TH, Strunin L. Comparison of epidural fentanyl with sufentanil. Analgesia and side effects after a single bolus dose during elective caesarean section. Anaesthesia. 1987 Abstract

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