Welcome to the second most asked question I’m asked as a CannaDoula!
“Can you smoke marijuana while breastfeeding?”
Well firstly, you can do anything you please! We at CannaDoula support informed choice above all else when it comes to cannabis consumption. That said, if you are looking for the most responsible and efficient way to medicate while breastfeeding, the answer is two fold. Since there are few long term studies on the effects of cannabis use while breastfeeding, CannaDoula errs on the side of caution and common sense.
During pregnancy, parent and babe share a blood supply. What we eat or inhale is filtered through the placenta to babe by way of the umbilical cord. After birth, babe is for the first time breathing and eating which poses new questions for the cannabis consumer. Is Cannabis traced in breast milk? Can I use edibles? Will my baby be high if I do?
I will firstly say for the general recreational user who probably is not getting much recreational time in life as a breastfeeding parent, one night of debauchery isn't going to harm you or baby. You don't even have to pump and dump! Relax your body and mind and have a good time! Pay attention to things like your's and babe's moods, sleep patterns and other cues as the cannabis levels out over the next few days.
If you are a medical marijuana patient who medicated throughout pregnancy, you've probably already adjusted your dosing and may want to continue a low dose regimen during most of your postpartum period. By creating a medicinal plan and having it in place before your breastfeeding relationship begins it will save you a lot of guesswork later if certain strains or dose methods don't work well for you and babe. Journaling your everyday activities, moods and dosages is a wonderful way to track noticeable changes for both you both.
For baby, keep a close eye on reactions. Many people can be allergic to marijuana flower and edibles infused with cannabis, though this is rare. You would see reflux, change in stool, or maybe even hives around the mouth. I’ll let readers know right now that cannabis allergies are rare. Most involve direct contact with cannabis or cannabis-derived products, so don't freak out in a Google frenzy thinking your baby is allergic to the trace amounts of cannabinoids passed in your delicious, nutritious milk.
What is more common is that your babe may not like the taste of “medibles” in breast milk. Anything flavorful that you eat changes the flavor of your milk. If you’ve ever tasted a potent brownie or infused olive oil, you know that cannabis has a distinct flavor that is hard to miss*, especially if you are a baby! If enjoying medicated foods, it may not be a bad idea to pump milk before hand or prepare a bottle for standby.
Smoking cannabis while breastfeeding or the inhalation of any substance may decrease or disrupt milk production. This doesn’t mean it influences milk production for every person, but it is a risk that has been established. Since there is a connection between pregnant and breastfeeding people smoking more than just cannabis, I stress that cannabis smoking alone has not be scientifically proven harmful to the breastfeeding relationship. Smoking cigarettes while breastfeeding has been studied and connections to early weaning, lowered milk supply, and interference with milk let-down have been recorded.
If you plan on consuming in smoke or vapor form, it is vital that proper ventilation is achieved. If you are able and willing, take a walk or step outside to medicate if smoking or vaping. Open up windows and doors if you are unable to leave your home. It may not be a bad idea to look into time-released trans dermal patches or sublingual strips or tinctures if you find your need to puff has become a hassle to manage in close quarters or around unruly weather.
With so little medical research being conducted for consumers, it can be difficult to make the right informed choices when it comes to medications. I urge readers to continue to push their legislation to decriminalize and legalize medicinal cannabis so that independent studies can be created and funded on state levels by established scientific entities! Until that time, CannaDoula says moderation, moderation, moderation.
*This means newborns can also taste and dislike. We never want a newborn baby to decline unnecessarily and since colostrum is such an important substance in the first days of life, I suggest clients avoid medibles during the early stages of the breastfeeding relationship unless your medication plan involves supplementing/bottle feeding already*