Smoking Weed While Breastfeeding: Is It safe?
Pregnancy brings with it an enormous list of restrictions. Now that your baby is out, you must be excited to resume eating the foods that most lovingly pamper your tastebuds and doing all those things that fill your dopamine void without worrying about affecting your baby.
However, we are here to remind you that, as long as you are breastfeeding, your baby is going to get affected by everything you take into your system. So, without beating around the bush, let's state that breastfeeding is not the safest time to get back to it if you are into smoking weed.
Cannabis enters your baby's body through breast milk and can potentially impede development. We know this has stripped the shine off your eyes, but we want the best for you and your baby. So the onus is on us to educate you on the consequences of smoking weed while breastfeeding.
Why Smoking Weed While Breastfeeding Is Not Safe?
Your breastmilk has an abundance of fat. Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC), found in cannabis, is fat-loving. Therefore THC reserves build up in the fat cells and remain there for an extended period. When you nurse your little one, it gets passed into their system.
According to studies, your breastfed child gets around 2.5% of the cannabis dose that you consume. Depending upon the amount of your cannabis intake, the quantity ingested by your baby varies. Reasons for concern have doubled because the concentration of THC in cannabis has increased since the 1980s.
Besides, you cannot pump and dump after smoking weed while breastfeeding. It is because THC can remain in your breastmilk from 6 days to as long as 6 weeks. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention advises breastfeeding women to stay away from cannabis as that can potentially hamper the child's development. It also inhibits prolactin, the milk-producing hormone, reducing your milk supply.
Moreover, it is a no-brainer that smoking weed can cause you to become high and affect your ability to care for your little one. Regardless of how tempting smoking pot is to you, we know that it cannot override your desire to be the best parent for your baby. So why not squash the itch for a while and rule out the possibility of a guilt trip in the coming days?
Impact Of Weed On Breastfed Babies
Though more research needs to be done on the effects of cannabis on breastfed babies, no study shows that it is harmless or benefits the babies. All the studies conducted so far have concluded that smoking weed is potentially harmful to breastfed infants.
Cannabis is a psychoactive compound. When cannabis passes into the breast milk, tetrahydrocannabinol present in it activates specific receptors in the brain that cause a mood-altering effect. However, those receptors play an essential role in brain development. Since significant brain development happens during the first year of life, exposure to cannabis can lead to delayed brain development.
Smoking weed while breastfeeding can also cause sedation in your little one. Under the effect of cannabis, your baby will sleep more than required and will not wake up to eat often. As a result, they will have stunted growth and problems with normal development. Babies continuously exposed to cannabis also express difficulty sucking milk from breasts due to weak muscle tone or hypotonia.
Several studies have also linked exposure to cannabis in breast milk to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD) in children. Because THC in cannabis hijacks the brain, smoking weed while breastfeeding can emotional stability in children and make them more susceptible to substance abuse later in life.
Passive smoking calls for equal caution. Breathing in cannabis from the breath of parents or the smoke present around them makes babies more vulnerable to suffering from middle ear infections, asthma, and other pulmonary disorders and puts them at a greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Should You Give Up Cannabis While Breastfeeding Even if it is for Medicinal Purposes?
After learning about the effects of cannabis on breastfed babies, we don't think you need to hear an answer from us. Even if you were prescribed cannabis to ease symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, or other conditions, you must have been asked to discontinue that during pregnancy. The halt shall most likely continue till the end of your breastfeeding period.
Discuss with your doctor about things you can do to manage the symptoms better during that time. Switch to therapy and incorporate lifestyle changes if required. If medications become necessary, you will be prescribed drugs compatible with breastfeeding. Rely on those till your doctor gives you the green signal to resume smoking weed.
When Is It Safe To Resume?
If you have been wondering when you can finally get back to your comfort activity, then let us tell you that you can do it only after your baby is completely weaned off your breastmilk. However, it is still not safe to smoke weed with your babies around. Passive smoking can put them at risk of respiratory disorders and cause other harmful effects.
Not enough research has been conducted on the effect of cannabis use by breastfeeding mothers on breastfed babies. However, all the studies conducted so far unanimously report that THC in cannabis and other common contaminants like heavy metals which pass into the breast milk pose severe threats to the growth and development of breastfed infants, thus declaring smoking weed while breastfeeding unsafe.
Therefore, pediatricians are mandated to report cases where mothers smoke weed during pregnancy or breastfeeding. If you are reading this, then we hope you have gotten your question answered. We trust you to make a decision in the best interest of you and your baby since it's only you who can wish the best for your little one.