CBD Gummies And Breastfeeding

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Hear about my decision to use CBD while breastfeeding. A pediatrician trained in Western and Ayurvedic medicine along with a celebrity doula advise against use of CBD while breastfeeding. Learn why inside. 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.

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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.

Taking CBD While Breastfeeding Poses Risks—Here’s What You Need to Know

Jill is a Senior Commerce Editor for Byrdie. Her work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Refinery 29, NYLON, Milk Media, VICE, Salon, Bustle, Modern Luxury, Autre, and Angeleno.

Dana Myers, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and life coach based in Philadelphia. She has a special interest in how race, sex, gender, ethnicity, social status and competencies impact those in marginalized communities and aims to help her clients find purpose and peace in life.

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In This Article

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is everywhere, from topical salves to tinctures. The so-called organic Xanax is being touted by wellness enthusiasts as a panacea to pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Nature’s supposed cure-all might seem like a miracle treatment to sleep-deprived, delirious new mothers, especially those who are breastfeeding and feeling energetically depleted. But despite the widespread availability of CBD, as of 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved one CBD drug, leaving many questions around its safety for breastfeeding mothers unanswered. What may seem like natural stress relief to help navigate the many mental and physical challenges of motherhood, especially in trying times, might end up exposing your child to risks that research has yet to uncover.

Nursing offers an unparalleled host of benefits to both mother and child. According to a comprehensive 2013 review, the nutritional, immunological, and anti-inflammatory properties of breastmilk provide health advantages to a nursing baby, including reduced risks of asthma, obesity, type 2 diabetes, ear and respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Nursing mothers experience a lowered risk of disease, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and ovarian and breast cancer, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But that’s not all. Breastfeeding is credited with positive psychosocial outcomes, most noticeably through the bond that develops between mother and child. As such, leading organizations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists endorse breastfeeding for at least 12 months of a child’s life. Such consensus around the benefits of breastfeeding have resulted in an uptick in mothers who nurse, with the CDC reporting 58.3% of infants breastfeeding at 6 months in 2017.

Increased duration of breastfeeding does, however, extend the postpartum period, which, as you probably know, may result in fatigue, interrupted sleep, and the emotional pressure that can accompany feeding a little one 24/7. As wonderful as breastfeeding may be, it can also be overwhelming, leaving nursing mothers exhausted and in need of relief; after all, being a source of unconditional comfort is draining. Widely available CBD might seem like a godsend, offering an instant feeling of calm without a hangover or any of the psychoactive effects of marijuana. But here’s the rub: Even though CBD is natural, we don’t yet know how CBD affects a developing baby and child, and what the longterm effects might be to a baby who has been exposed to CBD through breastmilk.

Ahead, our experts help us sift through what we do know about using CBD when breastfeeding, so nursing mothers can make informed choices.

Meet the Expert

  • Natalie Geary, MD, is a pediatric and family doctor based in Miami and New York and the founder and Medical Director of vedaHEALTH and vedaPURE. A Harvard trained physician, Geary integrates Ayurvedic and allopathic medicine in her practice.
  • A celebrity wellness maven and birth doula, Latham Thomas is the founder of Mama Glow, a global maternal health and doula education company, instructing doula-trainees from around the world. Thomas is a graduate of Columbia University and Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and author of two best-selling books, Own Your Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning The Queen Within and Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy.

What the Data Says About CBD and Breastfeeding

There is a lack of published research on the safety of using CBD while breastfeeding. Most of the data surrounds maternal use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), derived from marijuana. However, CBD and THC are both classified as cannabinoids, which the data suggests enters breastmilk after maternal consumption:

A 2018 study surrounding THC and breastfeeding, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, indicates that THC is measurable in breastmilk for up to six days after maternal marijuana use. Cannabinoids love to adhere to fat, and breastmilk is viscous as it contains long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

This means you can’t pump and feel confident the CBD is out of your system, like you might after say, drinking a glass of wine. “CBD takes longer to metabolize and process through the body than alcohol,” says Thomas. “We know that cannabinoids stick to the fatty parts of breast milk and hang out longer.

Geary adds, “Every mother’s metabolism is different; the absorption into the blood stream is different, and the actual dosage of the CBD listed is not considered accurate or reliable.” She also brings up a point about the lack of regulation surrounding CBD products. In March of 2020, the FDA issued a statement promising to advance regulatory practices of CBD, admitting wide gaps in data and a lack of market transparency. The same report notes, “we are also not at a point where we can conclude that unapproved CBD products are safe for use.” Thomas adds that for reliable data, we’ll need to evaluate a couple thousand people over at least 15 years. Current data doesn’t meet either of those criteria.

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Topical vs. Ingestible Use of CBD When Breastfeeding

When it comes to topical versus ingestible use of CBD, again, there’s a dearth of data on the longterm effects. However, Thomas says that topical CBD products are a bit safer because CBD isn’t entering your bloodstream in the same way. “Postpartum women might apply a CBD salve to a scar, achy muscles, or to ease sore nipples,” explains Thomas, adding that you should make sure to clean nipples before your baby latches.

Thomas warns to be skeptical of CBD products that are inexpensive. Seek out reputable brands that use conscious farming practices. “None of this stuff is cheap,” she says. “This is an expensive process.”

She says it’s crucial, however, that you bring the product you intend on using to your health care provider and discuss its use before trying it out. She also says it’s important to realize if you choose to use CBD topically when breastfeeding, it’s still considered experimental. “Never feel forced to use something just because you bought it,” she adds.

Risks of Using CBD When Breastfeeding

One reason you might think CBD is safe for nursing mothers is the fact that mother’s milk naturally contains cannabinoids, similar to CBD. These cannabinoids may help stimulate a newborn’s appetite. In fact, they work on the same receptors that are activated when people get the munchies from consuming THC. However, don’t assume a case of “the more the merrier,” says Thomas. Geary, too, warns there’s a big difference between what the body produces naturally and the “artificially imported chemicals” in commercial CBD. She adds, “Women have been breastfeeding forever. Mother’s milk contains no impurities, no chemicals or pesticides, and no chance of an overdose.”

CBD remains out of the purview of the FDA, leaving each company or brand in control of monitoring the product’s safety. “Some companies are able to afford testing and studies,” says Thomas. “Others aren’t.”

Geary adds, “A very real problem is that the products are unregulated and may be contaminated with harmful chemicals—such as pesticides, bacteria, fungus, and heavy metals—which can harm the fetus or baby.”

Geary (who notes that as a pediatrician with a license to provide medical marijuana —CBD and THC products—she’s not an anti-marijuana doctor), says using CBD when breastfeeding just isn’t a safe gamble. “During the time of the developing fetus, through until age three years of life, the infant’s brain reaches 80% of its full adult volume. Any unnecessary exposure, especially in those vulnerable first three years, is worth considering very seriously.”

Final Thoughts

Until we have more evidence, Geary says women who are expecting or breastfeeding should definitely err on the side of caution and avoid cannabis in all forms.

Try to use nursing sessions as a time to pause and reset, letting the oxytocin that’s released during breastfeeding help you enter a state of calm. Play soothing music or a guided meditation, practice deep breathing, and remember that this stage of life is temporary.

Thomas adds that although CBD can seem like a “pathway to self-care,” it’s only one of many wellness tools. She urges women to get to the “root of the stress or anxiety on the road to recovery.” Asking for help is critical. “When we think of stress and how to mitigate it because life is too much, that becomes a pathway for pain and trauma to embed,” she says. But it’s also an opportunity to do the work necessary to heal. “Reaching for a cure-all,” she says, “helps us turn away from a life we’ve created when we need to be so committed to it right now.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with postpartum depression, please see a physician or contact Postpartum Support International, a free helpline.

Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.

Dieterich CM, Felice JP, O’Sullivan E, Rasmussen KM. Breastfeeding and Health Outcomes for the Mother-infant Dyad. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2013;60(1):31-48. doi:10.1016/j.pcl.2012.09.010

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Breastfeeding Benefits Both Baby and Mom. Updated July 27, 2021.

Bertrand KA, Hanan NJ, Honerkamp-Smith G, Best BM, Chambers CD. Marijuana Use by Breastfeeding Mothers and Cannabinoid Concentrations in Breast Milk. Pediatrics. 2018;142(3):e20181076. doi:10.1542/peds.2018-1076

Uvnäs Moberg K, Ekström-Bergström A, Buckley S, et al. Maternal Plasma Levels of Oxytocin During Breastfeeding – A Systematic Review. PLoS One. 2020;15(8):e0235806. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0235806

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.

Key Takeaways:
  • 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.

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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 [5].

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) [6].

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) [7].

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 [6].

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.

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