Are breastfeeding and marijuana compatible? With the increase in popularity and usage in recent decades, this is a question that mothers often encounter after their baby is born. In this article, we share information to help you make an informed decision for your family.
If you used marijuana before pregnancy, you might be thinking about whether it’s something you can safely continue since your little one is now here. The short answer is “probably not.”
Is Marijuana Safe While Breastfeeding?
Marijuana, otherwise called cannabis or weed, is the most regularly utilized illegal drug, and numerous ladies use medical weed for recreational purpose in states where it is legal also. Although generally considered a “harmless” or “soft drug,” there are hazards related to cannabis use when it comes to breastfeeding moms and babies.
As with breastfeeding and alcohol, many mothers wonder if, after abstaining during pregnancy from marijuana, it’s safe for them to resume.
The bottom line is – there isn’t a ton of information and research available and most professional organizations advise against using while breastfeeding. With that said, since the popularity of marijuana has increased in recent decades, more research is being done.
I’m not here to pass judgement on anyone or tell you what to do – I believe it’s important to provide the currently available research so you can make the most informed decision possible. However, the general consensus does seem to be that the safest choice is to not use marijuana while you are breastfeeding.
Of course, always consult with your trusted medical provider on your situation. This post is meant for information purposes only.
- Is Marijuana Safe While Breastfeeding?
- Research Statistics
- Does Marijauna pass into breast milk?
- What Happens if I smoke marijuana while breastfeeding?
- Harmful Ingredients
- Possible Side effects of Marijuana Intake
- Drowsiness in Baby.
- Reduced Milk Production.
- Altering Brain Cells.
- The Danger of Hurting the Child.
- Secondhand Smoke.
- Thirdhand Smoke.
- Drug Intensity.
- Advice to Marijuana-Addicted Mothers
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Here is some information from different individuals and organizations:
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The AAP’s stance on the use of marijuana or weed by breastfeeding moms expresses that due to marijuana passing through breast milk, it’s best to avoid during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Center for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC states, “Data on the effects of marijuana and CBD exposure to the infant through breastfeeding are limited and conflicting. To limit potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding mothers should be advised not to use marijuana or marijuana-containing products in any form, including those containing CBD, while breastfeeding.”
Infant Risk. Infant Risk cites one study of 27 moms where they found ” no differences in growth, mental and motor development were noted in this study population.” However they conclude by saying, “In summary, there is increasing concern about the use of marijuana or other similar products in pregnancy and in breastfeeding mothers. Data continues to suggest that cannabis may produce long-term sequelae, such as reduced cognition and changes in mood and reward.10 Both human cohort studies and studies in animals clearly suggest that early exposure to cannabis is not benign and that cannabis exposure in the perinatal period may produce long-term changes in behavior and mental health.”
Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal ingredient in weed, is fat-dissolvable and accumulates in breast milk. THC can stay in breast milk for as long as six days.
Tamika Cross, MD, FACOG, and board-affirmed OB-GYN, states, “Often, there are other contaminants such as heavy metals, bacteria, and pesticides in marijuana that are harmful to mom and baby.”
Apart from the risk of passing THC or pollutants to your infant through breast milk, specialists believe that smoking pot can additionally weaken a parent’s capacity to take good care of their baby.
Does Marijauna pass into breast milk?
What Happens if I smoke marijuana while breastfeeding?
According to the AAP, “The Child Abuse and Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires all states to have reporting policies and procedures for when newborns and other children are exposed to illegal substances. Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, CAPTA applies to marijuana exposure in all states regardless of the legal status of marijuana use by adults in each state. Individual states may have their own policies about reporting exposure to marijuana through pregnancy and breastfeeding.”
Does this mean your child will be taken away or that you will be arrested? Well, probably not. But if your pediatrician or doctor suspects use, they could potentially report you. What happens in this situation may vary from state to state.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the fundamental active ingredient of marijuana, is stored away in muscle to fat ratio and gradually released after some time, which means you could present your baby to THC for an extended timeframe.
A few products, including cannabidiol (CBD) products, may contain various impurities (e.g., pesticides, substantial metals, bacteria, and parasites) that could be risky to a mother and her newborn child.
Possible Side effects of Marijuana Intake
Women should consider the following possible risks of inhaling or ingesting marijuana while breastfeeding which include:
Drowsiness in Baby.
Marijuana can cause excess sleepiness in your baby, which can lead to poor feeding, slow weight gain and potentially sluggish overall infant growth in the long term. Furthermore, smoking in any form can be linked to SIDS.
Reduced Milk Production.
There is the potential of reduced milk creation. THC diminishes the amount of milk delivered by suppressing the creation of prolactin and, perhaps, by an immediate activity on the mammary organs.
Altering Brain Cells.
There is tremendous brain development happening during a child’s first year of life; marijuana may alter brain cells. Animal studies have shown that DNA and RNA digestion may likewise be influenced, and the proteins required for proper baby development and growth are debilitated.
The Danger of Hurting the Child.
Guardians must never sleep in the same bed with their baby after consuming marijuana or drinking alcohol as it might dull your senses and increment the risk of your moving on top of your baby and choking out her.
Inhaling another person’s marijuana causes various medical conditions in babies and kids, including regular and extreme asthma attacks, respiratory contaminations, ear infections, and an expanded danger of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Marijuana and tobacco residue can append to hair, clothes, furniture, doors, and even your youngster’s toys. This exposure puts your little one at greater danger for SIDS and respiratory conditions.
Most marijuana studies were done more than ten years prior when THC levels were a lot lower than they are today. Consequently, the risks for babies and youngsters today might be more prominent than previously recorded.
Advice to Marijuana-Addicted Mothers
Marijuana use during breastfeeding is contraindicated by Hale and the American Academy of Pediatrics in Breastfeeding Mothers. In the event that you routinely use marijuana, breastfeeding is contraindicated, and it’s advise to reduce or eliminate the use.
If you can’t quit utilizing marijuana, the situation ought to be assessed dependent upon the situation (age of the baby, amounts used, and so on). Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- The mother needs to keep marijuana smoke exposure away from her youngster.
- She should not breastfeed during the hours after marijuana intake.
- She should carefully monitor the newborn child.
- Both mother and infant ought to follow a mental and physical checkup.
Moms must be educated about the risk of SIDS related to maternal smoking during and after pregnancy. The chances of SIDS among average birth weight newborn babies was around 2 for latent exposure (only during infancy) and raised to 3 for joined exposure (during pregnancy and infancy).
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Katie Clark is a Certified Lactation Educator, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, and IBCLC student. She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.