Can I Breastfeed While on Methadone Maintenance?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “For women who are not HIV-positive and who are on methadone, breastfeeding is the best option.”

Methadone maintenance is extremely beneficial for women who are attempting to recover from heroin or other types of narcotic abuse and are also pregnant or have a young child. If you would like to find out more about this program or find a maintenance clinic in your area, call 800-994-1867Who Answers? today.

Methadone and Pregnancy

Many mothers become concerned that they should stop their opioid use entirely once they become pregnant or begin breastfeeding. However, doctors recommend that pregnant individuals take methadone as opposed to quitting opioids cold turkey.

Breastfeed While on Methadone

The benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any risks involved with doing so while on methadone.

This is because the second option is dangerous and can often lead to relapse. In addition, going through withdrawal while pregnant can be harmful to the mother and the fetus.

After the baby is born, doctors wean them off of methadone slowly so as to minimize their likelihood of experiencing withdrawal symptoms once they are outside the womb. This is all very safe and is often the best option for pregnant individuals in opioid addiction treatment and recovery.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Because the baby will need to be slowly tapered off the methadone dosage they are accustomed to, many individuals worry that breastfeeding can cause them to become dependent on the drug again. However, “the benefits of breast feeding often outweigh the effect of the tiny amount of methadone that enters the breast milk.” These benefits include:

  • Higher IQ scores
  • Physical closeness and bonding for the mother and child
  • Lower risk of diabetes and obesity
  • Lower risk of allergies and asthma
  • A stronger immunity
  • Fewer issues like ear infections, respiratory problems, etc.

Breastfeeding is incredibly beneficial for both the mother and the child and should usually be considered as an option, even if the individual is still taking methadone on a daily basis. It is still important, though, to talk to your doctor about your options and decide together which will be safest and most beneficial for both you and your child.

Methadone Treatment Can Help

Those individuals who have a transmittable disease like HIV or hepatitis C should usually abstain from breast feeding, but for the most part, women on methadone are helping their babies more than harming them by breast feeding. Methadone helps many individuals avoid a return to drug abuse as well as solve many other issues that would be problematic for both the patient and their child.

It is important to discuss any decisions you have made with your methadone doctor and primary care physician of course, but most mothers experience a number of benefits with breast feeding their children, even while on methadone.

The program is actually especially helpful to those who are still struggling with cravings and dependence as well, so it is important to remember that you do not have to choose between methadone treatment and the benefits of breast feeding your child.

If you would like to find a maintenance clinic in your area, call 800-994-1867Who Answers? today. We can also answer any other questions you may have about breast feeding, methadone maintenance, and opioid addiction recovery.

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