Thursday, January 26, 2017

Substance use while breastfeeding IS child abuse

Just because it is legal doesn’t mean it is okay for your baby

The Mesa County Department of Human Services Child Welfare and the Health Department want to remind new mothers that marijuana, narcotics, alcohol and tobacco use has an impact on breastfeeding babies. Substance use while breastfeeding is considered child abuse and can be reported.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that mothers who are breastfeeding their babies should not use marijuana. Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both the baby and the mother. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana gets into breast milk and will likely affect your baby.

According to Child Welfare Supervisor Lynette Overmeyer beside the direct, chemical effects of marijuana on a baby, use of marijuana may affect a mother’s ability to be able to properly care for her baby. Additionally, Overmeyer states, “In Child Welfare we consider a mother using marijuana and breastfeeding her baby as child abuse.”

Marijuana can cause lethargy in the baby, which can lead to slow weight gain and possibly slow overall development in the baby long term. The THC in the marijuana impacts the baby’s brain development.  In addition, babies whose mothers smoke marijuana or tobacco regularly have a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Karla Klemm, Women, Infants & Children (WIC) Manager, adds "Even though marijuana is legal in Colorado, it doesn't mean it is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding."

Both agencies encourage mothers to seek help with breastfeeding through WIC with the Mesa County Health Department.

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