Here’s a familiar refrain; studies on marijuana using mothers and their breastfed babies are few and far between. Like pot and pregnancy, there are some things people just don’t want to touch. Perhaps decriminalization would have an impact on the availability of studies, and we could ditch the archaic Nancy Reagan Bullshit of the 1980’s and move into the future. Or not. Whatever.
Breastfeeding- I’m a fan
Without totally outing myself, I will say that I am somewhat of a closeted hippie. I like hippie things, hippie ideals, hippie principles. But moving past “hippie” we get to the idea of “natural” and that’s really what I’m going for with my parenting. Natural, uninhibited, without fear of judgement. Anyway, I did breastfeed my children, both for 18 months each. There are countless studies on the benefits of breastfeeding, so much so that it seems redundant for me to list them. But I can say that breastfeeding was one of the more important phases of my life. My bond with my daughters began in the first moments of their lives, tiny hands wrapped around my one finger, tiny mouth locked on my breast, huge eyes watching me, mine blurry with tears. The close relationship I have with my little girls is the one thing in my life that I am most proud of. So if the health reasons aren’t enough to convey the importance of breastfeeding, maybe the importance of fostering the mother/infant bond is.
There’s THC in my Milk
As stated in my pot and pregnancy post, during those years of pregnancy and breastfeeding, I had no exposure to marijuana. Now its years later, pot is legal, and my more mature brain knows to research my health choices and to not rely on information I heard twenty years ago.
I find it helpful to write out the things we know in list form. It helps me in making all sorts of decisions. Here’s what we know about pot and breast milk.
- The active substance of cannabis is the delta 9 TetraHydroCannabinol (THC). This is what they test for when looking for marijuana use. Fat soluble THC is found in body fat of users, and is released slowly over days (sometimes weeks).
- Breast milk is super high in fat (yum for babies!) and THC in small doses is found in the breast milk of pot using moms.
- A breastfed baby’s urine may show a positive result for THC if the mother is using marijuana.
- Studies show no link to marijuana use in lactating mothers and the intellectual or physical development of their offspring. There is a small suggestion towards motor development delay. All of these studies are small in scope and rely on volunteer screenings.
- Smoking (anything) around an infant is a major no-no. Any type of smoke exposure is harmful to an infant, so please don’t do it. Vaporizing and edibles are the safest bet for mother and baby.
- There is a suggestion of decreased prolactin production in marijuana using women. Having an established milk supply seems to mitigate this.
What Would Stoner Mom Do? (WWSMD)
For me, breastfeeding would be my priority. If marijuana use was impairing my milk production I would likely refrain. If it wasn’t affecting milk production, I would probably keep my usage low and be hyper-aware of how my child was developing. I would never, ever smoke around an infant.
Breastfeeding can mitigate some of the effects of smoking. Because of this, and the lack of evidence of infant harm, it is preferable for nursing stoner moms to continue breastfeeding, being sure to keep the infant away from all smoke.