Pot-Smoking Mom Fights for Right to Breastfeed Her Own Baby

breastfeeding momThey say breast is best, so it's hard to imagine a hospital advising a mom who wants to breastfeed that she shouldn't even attempt to nurse. But that's exactly what happened to a new mom in Oregon this month. Crystal Cain was told she couldn't breastfeed her daughter in the hospital because she's used medical marijuana since pregnancy

Take note of the word "medical." Cain is not your garden variety pothead. She actually took the drug -- legally -- on the advice of her midwife as a means to control both anxiety and nausea during pregnancy.

Cain's daughter was born eight weeks premature and required a hospital stay before coming home. That's where the mom says she was told she couldn't nurse the child because of her marijuana use. She didn't want to stop the treatment because it was helping her, but she didn't want her child to miss out on the benefits of the breast either.

When Cain put up a fight, the hospital backed off, forcing her to sign a waiver that acknowledged the potential risks of simultaneous marijuana usage and breastfeeding.

It's about as happy a medium as you can expect, but the issue certainly opens up a debate for mothers across the country. Who gets to decide what moms are doing while breastfeeding, especially in respect to legal drugs such as marijuana? A mother? A doctor? Who?

Who decides what's worth the risk to baby and what isn't?

More From The Stir: Mom Explains Why Her 4-Year-Old Uses Medical Marijuana Every Day

As medical marijuana usage gains popularity -- and legality -- in various states, there are bound to be more and more moms who are nursing ... and inhaling.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics still advises breastfeeding moms to pass on the bong, the pharmaceutical means used to treat conditions such as anxiety also scare breastfeeding moms. The medical establishment seems to waffle on the safety of taking antidepressants while nursing so often that it's hardly surprising that a mom might choose a more natural option.

Some moms opt out of breastfeeding entirely, turning to formula, because they just don't feel the risk is worth it. But it's hard to say which is better for baby -- getting the benefits of nursing with the drawbacks of anxiety and depression treatment (of any form) or going on formula to avoid those risks but not getting the nursing benefits.

Unfortunately, there isn't much medical research on marijuana usage while breastfeeding. No wonder -- what mother wants to be the one who puts her baby at a potential risk for the sake of science? That puts hospitals in a sticky position. On the other hand, moms need to make the decisions best for them and for their babies, and we need to be trusted to make that decision.

Would you smoke pot and breastfeed at the same time? How about taking antidepressants?


Image via © iStock.com/hidesy



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nonmember avatar Kristi

So it was prescribed to her during pregnancy for anxiety and nausea. If you didn't need it before you were pregnant then why can't you give it up for the sake of your baby now? Yeah, that's what I thought. Why was her baby 8 weeks early?

nonmember avatar AYF

Nope. Just no. That is child abuse. Thc binds to fat. Breast milk has tons of fat. I'm surprised social services haven't stepped in. Got anxiety? There are plenty of other herbal remedies. There are also safe medications to take while pregnant. Some Meds aren't safe, prescription or non prescription. It would not be safe to take opiates during nursing either. This is a choice--if you have an anxiety problem and you have a baby, you find a way to treat your anxiety that will not harm your baby. I feel so sorry for the child. And where is the father in this?

nonmember avatar Zoe

There have been studies in Jamaica that show that marijuana use does not harm children brestfeeding or while pregnant. Things like norco and xanax are considered OK for some to breastfeed while using and I would much rather use marijuana than those drugs all of which pass through breast milk.

happi... happinessforyou

I would think that some frequent therapy sessions would have helped more with the "anxiety" issues.

nonmember avatar krystian

Kristi, her baby was 8 weeks early probably due to the fact of her smoking the shit.

You wanna breastfeed, then don't do drugs.

She could've seen a therapist to help with her anxiety, instead she chose a drug. That now she'll turn around and sue the hospital when her baby is sick or has an issue

nonmember avatar mommy0320

Im surprised she hasnt had CPS called on her. A MIDWIFE prescribed it to her? I didnt even think they could do that. She most likely obtained a prescription for it before falling pregnant. With that said anti depressants are worse for your child then pot as long as you know the source. I think more research should focus on benefits and downfalls of thc, since it seems to be such a moral issue

AliPa... AliParker

I agree with most of what the other commenters are saying. If she wants to breast feed so badly get off drugs. Marijuana is a lot better than other drugs out there but it is still a drug. I don't pity her issues. People deal with things like that everyday. If you want to keep doing drugs use formula. Why dope the baby up?

nonmember avatar common sense

fyi ayf marijuana is an herb

nonmember avatar Jessica

Common sense if it is a so called herb it would not be illegal than aka y you go to jail for posseion of marjiunia and also y you have to be in a state that had medically marjiunia and you can't get it in that state than go back to a state that you live in and smoke it before making comments like that you need to know the law and there have been findings that smoking pot harms your baby

Baile... Bailey8307

Pharmaceutical drugs can cause birth defects. Marijuana is natural and you do not have to smoke it to receive its benefits. It may be difficult for some to imagine, but people with real psychological conditions often need more than just therapy to live a normal life.

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