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Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Marijuana and Breastfeeding: Is smoking weed okay for my breastfed baby?

As with any parenting decision, breastfeeding your infant can sometimes be a controversial matter. Breastfeeding is not easy and it puts a lot of limits on many mothers’ lifestyles. You have to control what you eat, if you drink, change your smoking habits, and decide if some of your normal activities can affect the growth of your children.

Although the topic of using marijuana and breastfeeding your baby has a lot of information from both sides, it is important to weigh both the pros and cons of THC on a nursing child.

marijuana and breastfeeding

First and Foremost…

Consider your local laws and regulations in regards to marijuana. You should avoid illegal activity as a parent for obvious reasons. Regardless of what you think is right or wrong, you can be prosecuted for breaking the law and potentially lose the family you’re working so hard to maintain.

If marijuana is a subject you feel strongly for, consider joining your local community in trying to change local laws. You could use this helpful map to determine if your state aligns with your personal views.

What happens when you smoke marijuana?

When a breastfeeding mother smokes weed it can most certainly affect her breast milk. Everything you put in your body is important. Because THC (the active component of marijuana) is drawn to fat, the fatty tissue of breasts and the fat necessary in your milk tends to attract the active components before it can be completely metabolized by your body.

When a mother is actively using marijuana and breastfeeding her child, the baby does get trace amounts of THC. Though this amount is not enough to make the baby high, the baby can test positive for up to 3 weeks afterwards.

THC also decreases prolactin, which is a very important part of producing breast milk. Marijuana use has been thought to decrease milk supply and directly affect mammary glands.

The Biggest Risks

Whether someone is in support of marijuana use or against it entirely, across the board there is a concern for the mother’s ability to parent while under the effects of marijuana. Your judgement is impaired and can be detrimental to your child care abilities.

If you co-sleep, it is even more important to control these urges because safe bedsharing means lying down completely sober. Weed makes you sleepy, and marijuana use is associated with suffocation and/or rolling over on top of an infant while bedsharing.

Although there is no conclusive evidence to support impaired mental development in infants, there are control studies that suggest regularly using marijuana and breastfeeding can delay motor development in children younger than one. These children do eventually catch up, but there is a significant delay in movement.

The Nitty Gritty of Marijuana and Breastfeeding:

A 2012 review on the topic of breastfeeding while using marijuana says, “There are no studies that support breastfeeding and use of marijuana. However, with conflicting results [of studies], further studies and case-by-case considerations are warranted in cases of occasional use.” More studies have been concentrated on prenatal use in regards to prematurity.

Marijuana has a varying half-life that is dependent on consumption methods and usage patterns, but can be as little as an hour. In states where marijuana use is legal, it is recommended to wait until after a feeding to smoke weed. As with any life-enhancement habit, it is important to take caution and use with moderation.


Shary Lopez is a late-twenties, nerdy gal living in Tampa Bay. Her family consists of a bearded husband and two children: one eight-year-old daughter and one very adventurous toddler boy. As a childbirth junkie and breastfeeding advocate, Shary tries to lean her family towards natural living while still grasping onto convenience and frugality. You can find more of her writings on Shary's personal blog, Atta Mama. Shary is also on social networking sites such as FacebookTwitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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