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Marijuana and Breastfeeding

You give up a lot to have a baby, but do you have to give up weed too?

So you want to have a baby. The doctor tells you all of the things you cannot do when you are pregnant. Kind of makes you wonder why you wanted to get pregnant in the first place. I can't drink? I can't smoke? I can't mainline heroin? What exactly did I get myself into? 

You do your best to make it through nine months clean and sober. Maybe you slip, maybe you don't, no one is the wiser. And then the little bugger comes into the world; You choose the path of breastfeeding-good for you! It's healthy for the baby! It helps you lose weight! But now that you're not pregnant, can't you get stoned?

We are living in a very exciting time. A time where the use of marijuana, whether it be recreationally or for medicinal purposes, has become legal in several states. A time where, in some states, if you get pulled over and you are in possession of small quantities of pot, you don't have to pee in your pants for fear of being thrown in jail. Life is good. But what about your baby? Is a THC breastmilk cocktail a good idea?

Pump and Dump

Let's discuss the term "pump and dump." For those of you nursing moms, or moms that plan to nurse, invest in a breast pump. This will allow you to pump milk before you smoke, guaranteeing your little one will not be stoned for tummy-time. Freeze it, as it lasts at least 30 days in a freezer, and use it carefully. And then, once you have gotten baked, it is time to pump and dump. A couple of times. Unfortunately, it is hard to specify how many times. And if you are stoned, you probably won't remember anyway.

Which brings us to another reason why you should be careful while "getting stoned with baby." Forget about what the baby will be drinking, you have to be careful that you don't forget where you put the baby. Or if you changed the baby. It's one thing when you get blazed and go home and eat three pizzas and then sleep for 26 hours, you might not be able to pull that off with a six month old. It won't matter if the baby is ingesting THC if you cannot remember where you left the baby.

Will your baby pass a drug test?

Cannabis is a tricky drug. How long it stays in your system is based on many variables. Height, weight, frequency of use, amount of use, how your body metabolizes the plant... the list goes on and on. Due to these factors, and the fact that most avid-toking women will not willingly participate in a survey about breastfeeding and marijuana use, it is hard to pinpoint the ramifications.

But here is what is indisputable, THC can be stored in fat tissue for quite a while and breast milk has a lot of fat in it. (Which is why it is so good for the baby.) Babies can test positive for up to three weeks, in both their urine and their stool. It is almost impossible to prove if a baby gets high.

Some babies just need to chill

A study was done on a group of babies. Some had mommies who smoked pot while nursing, within that group, some smoked daily and others less frequently. Others had mommies that didn't smoke at all. All of these babies were developing normally. The babies that had gotten stoned through breastfeeding weren't crawling into walls or eating all of the cheerios. And the other babies weren't more uptight, anxious or cranky.

The Journal of Breastfeeding Medicine published a piece of research that revealed 41 percent of lactation professionals surveyed recommended that moms continue to nurse even if they smoke pot, because the benefits still outweigh the risks; 45 percent said it depended on how much those mom's smoke and a brave 15 percent said only nurse if you aren't getting stoned. 

The research just isn't clear. Think about it though, when you are stoned, you aren't yourself. If this is passed onto the baby, his eating and sleeping patterns might be altered and it could, theoretically, effect his development. Doctors recommend that you do not get stoned while nursing because they really do not know what long term effects it will have on the baby's brain.

Pump and dump in style

If you still want to get high, pump and dump at least two to three times before nursing again. It doesn't guarantee it won't still be in the milk, but it lessens the effect.

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