Illegal drugs and breastfeeding are two things that do not go together well. Unfortunately, as more and more women are realizing the benefits of breastfeeding, there are more and more women who begin breastfeeding during periods of time when they are also using illegal drugs.
As a nursing mother, there are three things that you should know about drugs and breast milk.
First, illegal drugs and breastfeeding are harmful to your baby. Nearly all drugs consumed by a nursing mother are passed into human breast milk.
Second, almost all legal medication ingested by the mother appears in very small amounts in the breast milk, this amount is usually less than 1%.
Third, very few drugs are contraindicated for nursing mothers.
The issue of illegal drugs and breastfeeding is complicated.
A nursing mother can ingest drugs in several different ways. A mother can consume drugs orally, intravenously, intramuscularly, topically or though inhalation. When it comes to illegal drugs and breastfeeding, those taken intravenously or intramuscularly cause the most damage to the baby. This is because these drugs do not go through the mother’s GI tract on their way to the breast milk.
When it comes to taking illegal drugs and breastfeeding, mothers should know that the more illegal drugs she ingests results in increased amounts of illegal drugs entering their baby’s mouth through their breast milk. The amount of illegal drugs that reaches the baby also depends on how often the nursing mother takes the drug.
The rate at which the illegal drugs will affect the baby are determined by the age and maturity level of the infant. For instance, premature babies have immature kidney and liver functions and will not be able to process or eliminate illegal drugs from their bodies. Babies who are several months old will be able to handle foreign substances in their breast milk, but they can still suffer irreparable injury.
When it comes to illegal drugs and breast feeding, the amount of drug that reaches the baby is also related to the frequency of feedings. A baby who nurses once or twice a day and feeds from the bottle the rest of the time, will receive less drugs than a baby who nurses from the breast all the time.
Then benefits of breastfeeding are well-known and undisputed. A doctor should recommend that a woman wean her baby only if the drugs being ingested are harmful to the infant. In the case of illegal drugs and breastfeeding, this is almost always the case.