Dangers of Using Drugs or Alcohol While Breastfeeding

Dangers of Using Drugs or Alcohol While BreastfeedingBreastfeeding gives infants the best possible start in life. Mother’s milk contains the optimum combination of nutrients and antibodies and correlates to bonding and psychological development. However if the mother is using drugs or alcohol while breastfeeding, she may be causing serious and even life-long harm to her baby.

How Do Different Substances Affect Babies?

Only your doctor can give you specific information about various chemicals and their effect on your child. Some prescription medications at certain doses are safe, as they are not passed along in high enough quantities to be harmful. Others are not safe at any level. Street drugs are especially dangerous, as there is little to no control about what chemicals may have been added to them. While the following information provides generalized information, it should in no way be used as a substitute for professional medical advice about your exact situation:

  • Marijuana use during breastfeeding has been connected with delayed brain development
  • Opiate use can lead to withdrawal symptoms and even death in newborns
  • Cocaine use can lead to sleeplessness, severe irritability and gastrointestinal distress
  • Alcohol use while nursing can lead to dangerously high sleep times and brain damage
  • Nicotine can cause Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, asthma, infertility and early weaning
  • Caffeine can cause irritability and may lead to poor brain development

Chemicals that are harmful to adults are even more harmful to nursing babies.

How Should Addicted Mothers Feed Their Newborn?

Your baby needs you to be healthy, clear-minded and fully present, and addiction prevents that. He or she is counting on you, and you owe it to yourself and your child to get clean and to stay clean. Raising a child is one of the most challenging and wonderful things a person can do, but you can’t do it while addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Confidential Answers to Questions about Drugs, Alcohol and Parenting

Our addiction counselors are standing by 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about breastfeeding, substance abuse, prescription drugs and what it takes to find healing from the disease of addiction. Don’t place your child at risk for one more day. Call our helpline, and let us connect you with the best help for your specific situation.