Mineral Oil

Drug Levels and Effects:

Summary of Use during Lactation:

Small amounts of mineraloilcan be found in breastmilk, apparently from absorption of hydrocarbons from cosmetics over long periods of time. Because mineraloilis poorly absorbed orally, little or none will not reach the bloodstream of the infant or cause any adverse effects in breastfed infants.[1] One small study supports the lack of effect of maternal mineraloilon the bowels of their breastfed infants. Oral use of mineraloilby the nursing mother is acceptable, although repeated use should be avoided because it may cause a deficiency of fat-soluble vitamins. The use of mineraloilor ointments containing mineraloilon or near the breast may expose the infant to high levels of mineral paraffins via licking.[2] Only water-miscible cream products should be applied to the breast.

Drug Levels:

Maternal Levels.

In a study of women undergoing cesarean section, subcutaneous fat was removed to analyze it for mineraloilsaturated hydrocarbons. Hindmilk was collected from some of the women on days 4 (n = 107) and 20 (n = 71) and also analyzed for these substances. The mean hydrocarbon content of milk fat on day 4 was 55 mg/kg of fat and on day 20 it was 15 mg/kg of fat. The amount in milk fat was correlated with the amount in subcutaneous fat. Based on questionnaires completed by the women, it appeared that the source of the hydrocarbons was accumulation over time from the application of cosmetics, such as sunscreen, hand cream and lipstick.[3][4]

Infant Levels.

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants:

Fifty mothers who were in the first day postpartum received 15 mL of either mineraloilor Magnolax (equivalent to 3.75 mL of mineraloiland 900 mg of magnesium hydroxide), although the exact number who received each product was not stated. Additional doses were given on subsequent days if needed. None of their breastfed infants were noted to have any markedly abnormal stools, although all of the infants also received supplemental feedings.[5]

Possible Effects on Lactation:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Alternate Drugs to Consider:

(Laxative) Bisacodyl,Magnesium Hydroxide,Senna


1. Hagemann TM. Gastrointestinal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1998;14:259-62. PMID:10205441
2. Noti A, Grob K, Biedermann M eet al. Exposure of babies to C(15)-C(45) mineral paraffins from human milk and breast salves. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2003;38:317-25. PMID:14623482
3. Concin N, Hofstetter G, Plattner B et al. Mineraloilparaffins in human body fat and milk. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46:544-52. PMID:17923223
4. Concin N, Hofstetter G, Plattner B et al. Evidence for cosmetics as a source of mineraloilcontamination in women. J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011;20:1713-9. PMID:21970597
5. Baldwin WF. Clinical study of senna administration to nursing mothers.:assessment of effects on infant bowel habits. Can Med Assoc J. 1963;89:566-7. PMID:14045350

Substance Identification:

Substance Name:


CAS Registry Number:

8012-95-1 8020-83-5

Drug Class:

  • Emollients

  • Gastrointestinal Agents

  • Laxatives

  • Administrative Information:

    LactMed Record Number:


    Last Revision Date:

    Disclaimer:Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.