If smoking weed is a big part of your lifestyle, then you may be anxious to pick up the pipe again postpartum. But if you’re planning on breastfeeding, then you may want to do your research on cannabis’ effect on it first.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any definitive answers due to the lack of studies on breastfeeding and cannabis. Despite this, you can still reach out to your physician or other healthcare professionals for information. Together, you can find a solution that best works for you.
Should You Tell Your Doctor You’re Using Weed?
As more states legalize marijuana, it’s more than likely that your doctor will ask you about weed usage during prenatal screenings. Alcohol, tobacco, and prescription and recreational drugs alike are all discussed during these meetings. Weed is no exception.
But even if your doctor doesn’t ask about your marijuana usage, it’s best to bring it up with them. During pregnancy, your health is of the utmost importance, and any substance will be a big factor to consider in this equation. This extends to your post-natal care as well.
5 Tips to Talk to Your Doctor About Cannabis While Breastfeeding
Many may find it difficult to be upfront with their doctors about smoking marijuana while breastfeeding. Below are some tips to help you open up and talk to your doctor about cannabis and breastfeeding.
1. Be Honest with Your Doctor about Your Cannabis Use
You’ve heard it before: honesty is the best policy. Sure, it’s a total cliche, but for a good reason! Doctors would rather you be upfront about cannabis use to best treat you according to your current lifestyle.
Honest conversations mean allowing yourself to speak openly about questions or concerns you may have. Omitting crucial information about marijuana usage disempowers you in the long run since you do not have the doctor’s insight to make an informed decision.
Be honest with your doctor, and together you can find answers and solutions for breastfeeding and marijuana intake.
2. Ask Your Doctor about Their Opinion on Using Cannabis While Breastfeeding
It goes without saying, but always get the opinion of a trusted medical professional for any health-related issue. Unsure about using weed while breastfeeding? Then, by all means, ask your doctor.
Opinions on marijuana and breastfeeding will vary of course but know that they will come from an educated place. They may also be able to point you in the direction of specific studies on the topic to get any answers you need, too.
3. Be Open to Discussing the Risks and Benefits of Using Cannabis While Breastfeeding
Approaching sensitive topics like this is always best when done with an open mind. If you’re best buddies with the bud, then it may be hard to hear about cutting back or stopping cannabis usage during breastfeeding at all. But the potential risks could outweigh the benefits of weed for you, and the only way to know for sure is by talking about it.
4. Find a Medical Professional Who Is Knowledgeable about the Effects of Cannabis on Breastfeeding
Your doctor, OB/GYN, or other healthcare professional may not know a ton about cannabis and breastfeeding. Or their information on the subject isn’t as extensive as you’d like, and you want to learn more before making a choice.
If that’s your case, then ask if they could refer you to someone to speak further about weed. Chances are they will know someone, or if not another doctor, then share research with you on cannabis’ effect on breast milk.
5. Join a Support Group for Mothers Who Are Using Cannabis While Breastfeeding
As cannabis use grows in popularity, more people are trying to navigate the tough question of whether to use weed while breastfeeding. When looking for an answer, know you don’t have to be alone.
There are hundreds of other moms out there who have sailed in your boat before. Seek out support groups and get their story firsthand. Their experience can help you make an informed decision.
Can Doctors Prescribe Weed for Breastfeeding Moms?
While medical marijuana is useful in treating many symptoms, doctors cannot prescribe weed to not only breastfeeding moms but to anyone. It is illegal for them to do so due to federal laws.
This also includes states where medicinal marijuana is legal. However, doctors can still recommend you for a medical marijuana ID card.
Even with this option available, many doctors will be hesitant about weed usage while breastfeeding altogether.
What if Your Doctor Isn’t Pro-weed?
There is definitely a chance that your doctor will advise against using weed while breastfeeding. Likely, they will point out the effects THC will have on breast milk and suggest you go cold turkey with it.
If you still want to learn more about weed’s effects on breastfeeding, then consider reaching out and getting a second opinion. Some doctors may be more lenient about mild usage that allows THC to metabolize properly in-between sessions.
What Are the Risks of Breastfeeding While Using Weed?
The risks associated with breastfeeding aren’t unfounded. There isn’t much extensive information available on marijuana’s effect on breast milk, and little-if-no studies done on the long-term effects.
At least one study has shown that THC can be excreted into breast milk, detected from anywhere between 6 days to 6 weeks after usage, and is then passed onto the baby. THC and its broken-down compounds bond closely with body fat, building up within it. Breast milk especially contains many healthy fats, so expect traces of THC to stick around.
On the flip side, there’s little information on how this impacts babies.
What this all means in regards to your baby’s health and development, in the long run, is the question. Due to the lack of extensive research, there doesn’t seem to be a straightforward answer, either. But if you’re going to use weed, then consider trying edibles.
Even if there are not as many studies as people would like on the effects of THC and breast milk, there is more than enough research on the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Smoking in particular has many harmful effects on not only breast milk but also the baby. Any smoke, not only tobacco smoke, has harmful to your baby’s lungs.
After reading this, you may still be stuck trying to make a decision for yourself and your baby. If that’s the case, then consider reaching out to a lactation consultant. These health professionals specialize in managing breast milk and breastfeeding health and will know how cannabis affects it.
Having a supportive professional to talk to can help empower you on your decision.
Likely, lactation consultants will vary in opinion on weed usage and breastfeeding. A group of consultants was surveyed about their recommendations regarding occasional marijuana breastfeeding patients, and the findings were diverse in thought. A large group thought breastfeeding on weed depended on the amount of marijuana use, while another believed it to be too risky.
If you don’t want to stop your weed usage, whether for medical or recreational reasons, but you’re still worried about its effect on breast milk, then there is always the option of using baby formula.
Every mother is unique, each with unique wants and needs. To learn more about your own, reach out to different physicians and healthcare providers. The most important thing you can do is educate yourself to make the most informed choice possible!