Can You Smoke Pot While Breastfeeding?

Experts are mixed on the dangers of marijuana for a breastfeeding mom.

Can You Smoke Pot While Breastfeeding?

That's a good question. Can you?

A recent article has stirred some debate about women who smoke marijuana and breastfeed simultaneously. Since nearly half of U.S. states have legalized marijuana, and the business around it continues to grow, we'll likely hear more about it in the future.

As a health care practitioner and dietitian, my advice to women who are breastfeeding and want to smoke pot is to focus on optimal nutrition and health practices while breastfeeding. When breastfeeding, most women are concerned about providing adequate breast milk so their goal is to eat enough calories and consume lactogenic foods (i.e. oats, brewer's yeast, fatty fish).

Consuming marijuana has a variety of effects on the body including a temporary high, respiratory issues, accelerated heartbeat and more. It can cause dizziness and slow reaction time, and as a new mom with an added responsibility, it may be hard to make sound judgements on your little one's health when you aren't exactly in the right frame of mind. Smoking pot can also increase your desire to munch, and while nutritionally, the desire to eat more is good for incoming calories to help promote breast milk, those should be healthful calories versus a bag of cheetos.

Of course, smoking pot while breastfeeding isn't the same as smoking pot while pregnant, however, breast milk does have the potential to carry the recreational drug from mother to baby.

While marijuana continues to grow in terms of a business and legalization, the fact doesn't change that experts are united in their advice, "It’s a short time that we’re asking you to abstain, and until we better know the risks for the baby, the best thing is not to use THC and other substances when you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.”

The bottom line is that because the dose response has not been determined, it's hard to say "Sure go ahead and consume marijuana X times a day, X times a week." Instead, it's easier to say, "Avoid it for the time period you are breastfeeding so as to avoid the what - if?"

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