Hear about my decision to use CBD while breastfeeding. Curiosity around the therapeutic uses for CBD has reached a fever pitch, but is it safe when you're nursing? Here's what experts say. It's no secret that nursing mothers often feel like they're constantly being pulled in many different directions—caring for the new baby, recovering from childbirth, and maintaining their own well-being. It's no wonder that many nursing mothers are interested in CBD products to help manage stress and discomfort. But is
CBD for Mamas
My experience with Equilibria CBD products. Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Equilibria brand, however all thoughts are my own. Equilibria did not ask me to write this blog post. This is not medical advice.
Everything You Wanted to Know about CBD for Moms!
I’ve gotten so many questions about using CBD, especially about using CBD while breastfeeding. I totally get it! It’s relatively new and there are A TON of products out there, yet there’s not nearly enough research! Today I’m going share a little bit about why I decided to take CBD, and what makes these CBD products special (hint: it has everything to do this incredible company!). Over the last few months, I’ve been sampling products and learning so much about CBD for mamas. I’m really excited to share more and answer some of your most commonly asked questions.
Why I decided to take CBD
My biggest reason for looking into CBD was stress management and headaches. I was getting really bad headaches – so frequently, that they were becoming debilitating. I have never been one to really like prescription medications — I don’t even like to take Advil or Tylenol!
As I started looking for treatments that felt a little bit more natural, I heard about Equilibria’s line of CBD products through a few people I knew and different influencers. I was curious about the products — could they possibly match the hype? When they reached out to me, I was really excited to talk with them and learn more.
As you know, with any partnership or any product I’m trying out, I always ask LOTS of questions. I always make sure that I’m able to try it for a while, long enough to decide if I want to share it. I’ve been using these products for the last few of months and I’m LOVING it. I don’t have headaches anymore, I’m not as stressed out, and I’m not as reactive. It’s been working really well for me, and I’m so happy to be working with this brand.
What are the Benefits of Using CBD?
Proponents of CBD report that the studied benefits are still emerging. Benefits from CBD range from treatment of chronic pain and migraines to anxiety and depression.
Why I chose Equilibria
When I started looking into CBD products, it was really overwhelming! There were so many different options, plus I was looking for some really specific features from the products I tried. Below were a few requirements I had:
I wanted a more natural option. I chose Equilibria is because their products are completely organic and non-GMO. There are no pesticides, herbicides, or heavy metals found in their soils. You can actually go on their website and look up the lab results and learn more about their farm in Colorado!
I wanted to support a woman-focused business. This company is not just an all-women company — the entire focus of their products is women. All of their products are specifically designed for a woman’s body, and all of the changes that women go through.
I wanted a full spectrum products. The products that Equilibrium offers are full spectrum. When you’re looking at the entire market of CBD options, there are three different types of CBD you can choose from: full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate. I wanted full spectrum, because I wanted more potent results with a smaller dose.
I wanted (and needed!) help with choosing products. The best thing about this company is that you get access to a Dosage Consultant with every order. You can talk about any specific concerns that you’d like to treat, and they’ll make recommendations based on your personal life — whether you’re looking to reduce inflammation, manage stress, headaches, or anxiety (or all of these things!). But they’re giving you more than product recommendations – they’ll also tell you what time of day to take it, and how often. If you know nothing about CBD, your consultant will walk you through everything you need to know — that accessibility is HUGE for me. I know so many people who are really curious about CBD, but also hesitant, because they just don’t really know where start — this is perfect for you.
Is CBD Right for You? Is CBD healthy for breastfeeding moms?
The FDA currently advises against all CBD and THC products for pregnant and nursing parents. Does CBD get into breast milk? Yes. It’s fat-soluble and will be expelled through your breast milk. However, much of the CBD and breastfeeding controversy lies within the studies done on THC and breast milk, not CBD. The FDA strongly advises against all cannabis products, mostly due to studies regarding THC in pregnancy having negative outcomes. The primary concern with CBD in particular, appears to be the potential for low-quality CBD products to be contaminated with pesticides, bacteria, fungi, and heavy metals. This is why it was a top priority for me to find the cleanest brand possible.
Of course, you should always talk with your doctor before making any major health decisions. CBD is really under researched, especially in pregnant and lactating people. Just like any other medication or supplement, there’s always going to be less research available around pregnancy and lactation, because of ethics with medical testing. We are typically last to be tested for new products.
That being said, everything I’ve learned from my Dosage Consultant has made me feel really comfortable taking it while breastfeeding. Again, you always do what works for you and always talk to your doctor when you’re introducing something new into your routine.
While I do feel that it’s safe for me, it’s also worth considering that there are certain medications that CBD might not react well with it. Always check with your doctor (I did, and mine feels it’s perfectly safe and fine for me!) before starting any new supplement or medication.
A few more resources:
(Note: this is not medical advice, just more information!)
My favorite CBD products
Equilibria’s line is expanding and growing, which is super exciting. While they’re currently US-only, I’ve also been chatting with them about what they might be able to offer international folks. These are my favorite products so far!
Daily Drops (Mint): I was expected CBD products to taste bad, and these don’t taste like that at all! They taste kind of like grassy and minty – it’s nice! I use the little dropper and take these in the morning.
Soft Gels: The soft gels are slow release. These are what you’d take if you’re having trouble sleeping, or want help with stress throughout the day.
Relief Balm: I wanted to get my mother and mother-in-law something beautiful and usable, so I got them both this. It’s a creamy balm used for aches and sore muscles, and it comes in the “relief box.” It would also be a great gift to a new mom or yourself.
Daily Treatment Oil: My mother-in-law and mom have raved about this facial oil. It has a beautiful lemony floral scent, but it’s totally natural, with no added fragrances or chemicals.
Mindful Mineral Soak: This is my new favorite! This would be such a cute gift with a loofah or candle. The mineral soak is like a bath salt and dissolves completely in a warm bath- my favorite form of self care!
NEW Rapid Calming Melts: Peppermint flavored 5mg tablets that dissolve under your tongue and are perfect to take whenever you’re feeling extra stressed and overwhelmed! Discreet and can be taken any time you need fast-acting relief – perfect to stash in your purse when you are on the go. They begin working in as little as 10 minutes and can last up to 6 hours.
CBD and Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?
Curiosity around the therapeutic uses for CBD has reached a fever pitch, but is it safe when you’re nursing? Here’s what experts say.
Maressa Brown is a seasoned lifestyle journalist, writer, and astrologer. In addition to being a regular contributor to Parents.com, her bylines appear on InStyle, Shape, What to Expect, Cosmopolitan, et al. She is the author of a forthcoming parenting title to be published by Artisan Books in early 2023. A graduate of Emerson College, she’s based in Los Angeles.
Pregnancy is one thing, but postpartum life often comes with a variety of mental and physical challenges. As many as one in five women suffer from postpartum depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Other concerns include anxiety, chronic pain, and insomnia, all compounded by the lack of sleep and hormonal shifts that naturally occur after giving birth. It’s no wonder more new parents are gravitating to CBD, or cannabidiol, a component of either a marijuana or hemp plant that is non-psychoactive (unlike THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which only comes from marijuana).
CBD has been touted as the active ingredient in a variety of therapeutic products that boast anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsant, and antidepressant properties. But is it safe to use CBD while breastfeeding? Here’s what nursing parents need to know about CBD.
- RELATED: Which Medications Are Safe While Breastfeeding?
What the Science Says About Using CBD While Breastfeeding
Research has focused primarily on THC, as opposed to CBD, in breast milk, and the conclusion is that it is possible to pass low levels of the psychoactive ingredient to your baby while nursing. A study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology looked at samples of breast milk from eight anonymous test subjects who regularly use cannabis and found that babies who were three to five months old and who were breastfed exclusively ingested an estimated 2.5 percent of the maternal dose of THC. (Researchers didn’t, however, take blood samples from the infants to see if they had measurable levels of THC in their bodies.)
And trying to “pump and dump” doesn’t work for cannabis products, as chemicals from cannabis that entered the body days or weeks prior to breastfeeding can make their way into breast milk, according to Medical News Today. In fact, other research published in the journal Pediatrics found that low levels of THC may be found in breast milk for up to six days after smoking cannabis or eating an edible.
Granted, this research was done on marijuana and THC, not hemp and CBD. But experts are concerned about the effect of any cannabinoid on an infant’s brain development.
“We truly do not know what short- or long-term impact on the baby it may have,” says Felice Gersh, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist and author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness.
Is CBD Safe While Breastfeeding?
“Having a new baby is stressful, and some may wish to turn to cannabis products,” Dr. Gersh notes. But the limited data on its safety—and the fact that it will pass into breast milk—makes it difficult for many experts to advise its use for nursing parents. “Unfortunately, there is no safety data to allow a doctor to recommend the use of cannabis or CBD,” says Dr. Gersh.
Mary Clifton, M.D., an internal medicine doctor in New York City agrees, stating, “If a new parent is breastfeeding, it’s probably not wise to use CBD. The medical community doesn’t support the use of CBD in these settings, because proper studies can’t be completed on the effect on the baby or infant.”
Despite the lack of published research, new parents have used cannabinoids for thousands of years, notes Robert Flannery, Ph.D, owner of Dr. Robb Farms. “Yes, THC and CBD are expressed in small quantities in breast milk,” Dr. Flannery says. And while he doesn’t feel comfortable suggesting CBD for a new parent who is breastfeeding, he acknowledges the use of cannabis in the past.
“We do not have enough research to make claims one way or another on how that breast milk would affect the milk-fed babies,” says Dr. Flannery. “Cannabis is a medicine that has been used specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding parents for millennia. I will never make a claim without the science to back it up, but we should understand that anecdotal evidence can be used to formulate testable hypotheses to validate the use of cannabis at this time in a one’s life.”
Risks Vs. Benefits of CBD While Breastfeeding
Ultimately, because CBD “has been shown to be little risk to both adults and children” and therefore, “may not pose a problem,” it is important to weigh the risk versus benefits for the breastfeeding parent and the infant, says Hilary Peckham, the co-founder of Etain Health, the only all-women, family owned medical marijuana dispensary company in New York.
For instance, many new parents suffer from postpartum depression, anxiety, fatigue, mood swings and detachment from the infant. “Many sufferers start a treatment of antidepressants which may not be appropriate for breastfeeding and may need to be discontinued,” Peckham says. “Starting CBD may still allow the parent to breastfeed and prolong the bonding time with the infant. That said, you should speak to your doctor before starting CBD, especially if you are breastfeeding.”
The Bottom Line
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend physicians counsel parents to abstain from all cannabis products—including CBD—if they wish to breastfeed. However, given the minimal amount of the substance that make its way into breast milk, and the fact that research has yet to confirm the exact effects on an infant, anyone interested in trying CBD while nursing would do well to speak to their doctor.
CBD And Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?
It’s no secret that nursing mothers often feel like they’re constantly being pulled in many different directions—caring for the new baby, recovering from childbirth, and maintaining their own well-being. It’s no wonder that many nursing mothers are interested in CBD products to help manage stress and discomfort. But is it safe for nursing mothers to use CBD products? There’s minimal research available on the outcomes of CBD on breastfed babies, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid using it while breastfeeding.
- CBD is one of many non-psychoactive compounds found in cannabis plants being researched for its long list of health benefits.
- CBD and other cannabinoids are fat-soluble, which means the body doesn’t eliminate them quickly, and they are stored in fat tissue.
- CBD has been detected in breastmilk 6 days after the last reported use, which can get passed on to infants.
- Some poorly-made CBD products may contain contaminants that can also pose a risk to the infant’s and mother’s health.
- Since there’s limited research on the safety of CBD and breastfeeding, it’s best to abstain from all cannabinoids.
What Is CBD?
CBD, cannabidiol, is one of over a hundred active compounds called cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining balance for a wide range of functions, including sleep, energy, memory, inflammation support, and pain perception [1, 2].
Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it doesn’t cause changes in perception and feelings of euphoria. While some people smoke marijuana for pain and mental health, the intoxicating effects aren’t always welcome. CBD products have been gaining much attention lately for their potential health benefits without causing a high associated with marijuana use.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the effects and safety surrounding CBD because it’s long been associated with marijuana and THC, the main psychoactive component of the plant.
Legal CBD products are derived from hemp plants, which cannot contain more than 0.3% THC—which isn’t enough to elicit psychoactive effects.
You may be wondering what the difference between them is.
Is smoking cannabis just smoking cannabis?
Hemp and marijuana are from the same cannabis plant, but the difference is in the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and, therefore, its effects on the body.
Because CBD doesn’t cause the same changes in perception and euphoria, many people consider it a safer compound to take. Breastfeeding mothers may consider reaching for it to support relaxation, better sleep, and stress support. While CBD is deemed safe for most people, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strongly recommends against all cannabis product use, even CBD, for pregnant and breastfeeding parents.
Why Some Mothers Consider Using CBD While Breastfeeding
We know that bringing a new baby home is a massive transition for the family—while the postpartum period is a joyous time—it’s also undoubtedly challenging. And the nine months leading up to giving birth, women experience many changes to their bodies, resulting in pain, hormonal problems, stress and anxiety, and sometimes, postpartum depression.
Because there’s been so much attention on CBD’s potential to support stress, mood, sleep, and pain, many new mothers consider CBD products as a gentle and natural-derived compound for their wellness.
The critical question is whether or not taking CBD oil is safe for the breastfed baby.
Even with CBD use aside, breastfeeding benefits the mother and baby. Compared to not breastfeeding, nursing mothers have been found to have generally lower perceived stress levels, fewer depressive symptoms, and lose more weight [3, 4].
What The Science Says About CBD And Breastfeeding
It’s not advised to consume even small quantities of cannabis products while pregnant at the risk of the developing fetus.
Some research looking at the outcomes of marijuana use during pregnancy has found that newborns had a higher likelihood of low birth weight and impaired brain and nervous system development .
There’s limited research on the safety of consuming CBD products while breastfeeding and even less on human milk specifically. Most of the published research is focused on marijuana and THC.
Since THC and CBD are cannabinoids that bind to fat and are metabolized in much of the same way, there are certain assumptions we can make, but nothing concrete about their effects on infants exposed to the compounds.
A study conducted from 2014 to 2017 followed 50 breastfeeding women who reportedly used marijuana and provided samples of their breastmilk to the lab to detect cannabinoid concentrations.
THC was detectable in 63% of the samples up to six days after the reported use, and five samples contained measurable levels of CBD (8.56 ng/mL) .
This study shows us that it takes much longer to metabolize and eliminate cannabinoids in the body because cannabinoids are fat-soluble. It’s not as simple as pumping the breast milk and discarding it to eliminate the compounds from the woman’s body before feeding as many nursing mothers can do after drinking a glass of wine.
Because there’s not enough research on the outcomes of using CBD products while nursing, it’s best to stay on the safe side and avoid it altogether.
Risks Of Smoking CBD While Breastfeeding
Smoking cigarettes while pregnant is a huge no-no. Chemicals from tobacco smoke can pass into your breast milk, and research suggests that babies exposed to tobacco smoke through breast milk are more likely to suffer from respiratory problems, ear infections, and even Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) .
But what about smoking CBD while breastfeeding? Is safe?
The jury is still out on this one, but there are some risks to consider. For starters, CBD can pass into breast milk. Your baby could be exposed to the compound, and CBD is potentially unsafe for infants. Additionally, smoking anything while breastfeeding can be harmful to you and your baby.
Another factor to consider is the harmful chemicals potentially hidden in your CBD products.
The CBD industry is new and still poorly regulated. Unfortunately, too many brands don’t care about the care or quality of their products and will use shortcuts to yield higher profits at the cost of their customers.
The hemp plant is susceptible to its growing environment, and poorly grown hemp crops could have traces of pesticides, heavy metals, and other contaminants that can end up in your CBD products, which can then be passed through breast milk.
Risks Of Taking CBD Oil While Breastfeeding
While CBD oil is generally considered safe for most adults, there is limited research on its effects on breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
Some of the potential risks associated with taking CBD oil while breastfeeding include:
How Long Is CBD In Breast Milk?
Many factors affect how long cannabinoids can remain in your body, such as your metabolism, frequency of use, and dose.
Since cannabinoids bind to fats, CBD and other cannabinoids remain in the body for much longer than other compounds such as alcohol and nicotine. When it comes to drug testing, we know that THC can stay in your system and be detected in urine up to 30 days after the last reported use.
Some evidence shows that cannabinoids can be detected in trace amounts in breast milk even 6 days after the reported use. Of course, this number can vary from person to person.
Can Nursing Mothers Use Topical CBD Products?
In theory, it should be safe to use CBD products on the skin as it doesn’t enter the bloodstream.
Topical CBD interacts with endocannabinoid receptors in the skin tissue to exert its effects locally. However, since there’s so much we don’t know about human breast milk and CBD, it’s best to avoid anything that can potentially harm the baby.
The Takeaway: Is It Safe For Breastfeeding Mothers To Use CBD Products?
While CBD oil is generally considered safe for most adults, some controversy surrounds its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In some breastfeeding mothers’ milk samples with cannabis use, CBD was detected up to six days after its last reported use .
For many new mothers, the decision to use CBD is personal. But if you are on any prescription medications, you must speak with your doctor before taking CBD. Cannabinoids, like many prescribed medications, are processed by the liver, which can increase the risk of specific medication toxicity in the body, which can then get passed onto the infant.