What to know

Using marijuana may allow harmful chemicals to pass from the mother to the infant through breast milk or secondhand smoke exposure. To limit potential risks to the infant, breastfeeding mothers should be advised not to use marijuana or products containing cannabidiol (CBD).

Marijuana and cannabis oil bottles isolated

Breastfeeding considerations

Data are insufficient to say if it is safe for mothers who use marijuana to breastfeed.

Chemical exposure to infants

Chemicals from marijuana can pass from a mother to her infant through breast milk. This includes marijuana in any form, such as edibles, oils, or other concentrates. The chemicals can potentially affect a newborn’s brain development and result in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function, and other long-term consequences.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active component of marijuana, is stored in body fat and slowly released over time. This means an infant could be exposed to an unknown amount and for an extended period. Additionally, some products, including cannabidiol (CBD) products, may contain other contaminants that could be dangerous to a mother and her infant. Such contaminants include pesticides, heavy metals, bacteria, and fungi.

Breast milk can contain THC for up to 6 days after use, according to one study. Other studies have noted even longer duration.

Risk to infants ‎

Due to potential risks, breastfeeding mothers should avoid using marijuana or marijuana-containing products, including those containing CBD, THC, or marijuana in any form.

Other safety considerations

If a breastfeeding mother continues to use marijuana or CBD, she should be encouraged to reduce her intake significantly.

To minimize secondhand smoke exposure, parents or caregivers should not smoke marijuana products around babies or children.

Marijuana use may also impair a mother or other caregiver's judgment and ability to care for an infant.

Medicinal marijuana‎

When advising breastfeeding mothers on the medicinal use of marijuana, health care providers should consider the potential risks of marijuana exposure and benefits of breastfeeding to the infant and mother.