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How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Breast Milk?

A mother holds her baby’s hand.
Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your baby—unless you are also using cocaine.

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We all know that you shouldn’t drink or do drugs while pregnant.

But when it comes to breastfeeding, things may not seem so black and white. Does cocaine pass through to breast milk and, if so, what are the effects? How long do you have to wait before breastfeeding?

The Effects of Cocaine on a Breastfeeding Baby

The National Institute of Health has published a study indicating that cocaine passes from mother to infant in “meaningful amounts” and could cause “considerable harm.”

Newborns are extremely sensitive to cocaine. Cocaine exposure can cause an increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, extreme irritability, agitation, increased startle reflex, choking and vomiting.

Cocaine and Breastfeeding: How Long Should You Wait?

Obviously, the best choice is to completely abstain from cocaine. If you do use once in a while, however, the recommendation is to wait at least 24 hours before breastfeeding. In the meantime, you should “pump and dump” and feed your baby formula or breast milk that was expressed and stored when you were not using cocaine.

Mothers who use cocaine on a regular basis are advised not to breastfeed at all and to seek help in a substance abuse treatment program.

One final word of caution: Cocaine should never be smoked when babies are around because they can be exposed to the drug just by breathing the smoke in the room.

Cocaine Recovery at The Raleigh House

It’s true that cocaine is highly addictive, but recovery is possible and happens every day. At The Raleigh House, our first goal is to make you feel safe and comfortable. You’re then assigned your own master’s level therapist who will work with you to come up with a plan that addresses the physical, psychological, mental, spiritual and social aspects of recovery. The goal is not just to get off of cocaine. It’s to find your path to a healthy, fulfilling and rewarding life. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the cocaine addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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