Once the the extremely premature infant is admitted to the NICU, it may be too late to ask the mother to abstain from using marijuana. THC can stay in her system and excreted in breast milk for weeks.
We know that using mothers breast milk decreases the incidence and severity of NEC. Mother’s breast milk is not just for nutrition. It decreases the occurance of both NEC and surgical NEC. The later has significant increase in mortality and long term neurologic morbidity. From what I have read, donor milk does not have nearly the same protective effect.
Treating or not treating the premie with mother’s breast milk. Until we have more data, what do we do? Are we causing more harm withholding mother’s breast milk for a 26 week premie?
Statement from LactMed
”Because breastfeeding can mitigate some of the effects of smoking and little evidence of serious infant harm has been seen, it appears preferable to encourage mothers who use marijuana to continue breastfeeding and reducing or abstaining from marijuana use while minimizing infant exposure to marijuana smoke.”