BE08: Lactation, Human Milk and Pharmacology

This course begins with an introductory module on pharmacology as it relates to the breastfeeding mother and infant. You will study easily understandable explanations of the complex mechanisms that affect transfer of drugs and substances into breastmilk, infant exposure and infant uptake of the medication. You will learn about medications contraindicated and those commonly prescribed for breastfeeding mothers. Social and illicit drugs and environmental contaminants and their effect on lactation and the infant are examined.

Access Time:
1 month (starting from time of purchase)
Enrolling in more than 1 course? Time is cumulative ie buy 2 courses, have 2 months access to both courses
12 L CERPs / 12 pre-exam education hours (IBLCE) /12 CHs
This course is tutored by an experienced Lactation Consultant.

Well-constructed online learning gives you the best of both worlds - quality content that you can work through at your own pace, in your own place, but with a level of personal attention that even rivals face-to-face programs. And, you guessed it, Health e-Learning programs are the BEST of online learning with all these great features:

  • Log in when it suits you 24/7/365
  • Study at your own pace within your enrolment period
    • no formal deadlines, stressful exams or assignments
  • All reading provided or linked
  • Periodic testing of knowledge with fun self test activities
  • Course facilitation by highly experienced IBCLC tutor
  • Gain valuable support and network with students from all over the world
  • Immediate feedback for final online assessment
    • certificate of completion issued immediately
  • Administrative and technical support available online


An understanding of human physiology is desirable. A basic text book on this subject would support your studies in this course.
A strong appreciation of the value of breastmilk to the infant will ensure breastfeeding is not jeopardised unnecessarily. This knowledge could be gained from completing BreastEd BE01: Breastmilk Composition and Function.


  1. Introduction to Pharmacology
    • Pharmacokinetics
    • Pharmacodynamics
    • Pharmacotherapeutics
    • Research basis of pharmacology
  2. Drug transfer into human milk:
    • Influence of maternal factors
    • Influence of drug factors
    • Influence of infant factors
    • Active drug transport
    • Measures of drug transfer
  3. Prescribing for Breastfeeding Mothers
    • General principles
    • Clinical strategies to reduce drug transfer
    • Drugs contraindicated during lactation
    • Risk: Benefit assessment principles
  4. Commonly Prescribed Drugs
    • Antibiotics and antifungals
    • Analgesics
    • Antidepressants
    • Contraceptives
    • Galactagogues
    • Lactation suppressants
  5. Non-prescribed Drugs
    • Social drugs
    • Illicit drugs
    • Environmental pollutants
  6. Working with Prescribers
    • Woman-centered care
    • Professionalism


An active forum, where topical issues may be raised, case studies discussed, questions posed and answered, links to additional information provided, etc, is facilitated by an experienced Lactation Consultant and is an integral part of the course. Reading this forum and contributing to it will enhance your learning and that of your colleagues.

Reading Material

  • All required reading materials and resources are available online.
    • A quality, current lactation text is advisable to augment your studies. Please see our list of recommended resources for further information.
  • Participants are permitted to print one copy of their course for personal use only.
    • If you do wish to print, please be aware that some courses are over 60 pages in length. Please be advised that links to articles and interactive activities are not available in the printed version.

Quality Assurance

  • Author: Dr Kirsten Small, MBBS, Obstetrician;  Denise Fisher, AM, MMP, Lactation Consultant
  • Reviewed by subject matter expert: Prof K. Ilett (ver1)
  • All courses are reviewed annually, as well as being updated as new knowledge becomes known.


This course has been designed to provide you with sufficient information to understand how human milk is affected by medications, social drugs, and environmental contaminants, and how that, in turn, might affect the breast/chest feeding infant.


On successful completion of this course you will be able to

  • Describe how drugs are transferred into human milk, listing what influences the concentration of drugs in human milk.
  • Discuss the factors influencing the absorption of the drug by the infant, and outline clinical strategies that reduce drug transfer to the infant.
  • Identify drugs and herbal preparations that increase or decrease the production of human milk and outline their recommended usage.
  • Advise which drugs are not compatible with breastfeeding.
  • Detail the safe usage of drugs prescribed for common conditions such as postpartum infections and depression.
  • Discuss the effect of environmental contaminants on human milk and infants.
  • Counsel a breastfeeding mother/parent on the effects of recreational and illegal drugs on themselves and their infant.
  • Discuss professional responsibility related to lactation and medications


Achievement of the learning objectives is assessed by automatically graded, online, multiple-choice questions. A passing grade is 80% on each assessment quiz.

A Workbook, downloaded from the course, is not required to be submitted, but completion will aid learning and provide an excellent resource.

On successfully completing this course you will be able to download, save and print your Certificate of Completion. Your Certificate will note ongoing education accreditation points.


On successful completion of this course you will be awarded:

  • 12 L CERPs*
  • 12 CHs
*Please see our Accreditation table for the most up-to-date accreditation numbers

For IBLCE examination preparation, this course provides 12 pre-exam education hours.

Do we offer CEUs? Need other types of accreditation? Please see our Accreditation FAQ for more information.


  1. This course is facilitated by an experienced International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
  2. The course is available as a one-month subscription commencing on the day of notification to you of your username and password.
  3. The subscription time is cumulative - for example, if you purchase 8 courses - you receive 8 months' access to all 8 courses.
  4. The subscription time may be extended by purchasing extensions, but must be purchased before the subscription expiry date.
  5. The average time taken to complete this course and the assessment is 12 hours.
  6. On successful completion, your Certificate will be available to you in pdf format from the course website.
  7. Replacement certificates can be obtained for a fee, however we maintain an official transcript that is available free for all customers to download at any time.

Fees and Payments

  • Enrollments are accepted online, or upon receipt of a faxed or mailed enrollment form (available on request).
  • Payments online are available via credit cards through either PSiGate or PayPal gateways.
  • The cost is US$135.00 per course.
  • Additional fees, that are out of our control, may be charged by your bank to convert this to your local currency.
  • Please see our Payments FAQ for more information.

Refunds and Privacy

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information regarding refunds and our Privacy Policy is also available.