Is it safe to breast feed a baby while taking Suboxone or Subutex? Will the drug get into the baby’s breast milk? Will the baby have side effects or get addicted? What should a woman do if she took Subutex throughout her pregnancy and now needs to decide if she can breastfeed?
If you are not involved in the field of addiction treatment, you may not be aware of the fact that there are pregnant women addicted to opioids. Many of these women are educated and have good careers. Why would they continue with drugs when they find out they are pregnant?
Opioid addiction is not what you may think it is. It is not a weakness or moral failing. It is not a lack of discipline or will power. There are powerful addicting drugs that have a grip on their users that are incredibly difficult to overcome. Drugs like crack drive users to lose all of their possessions and their families, ending up homeless and on the streets.
Opioids can be just as psychologically addicting as any drug, even crack. Yet, there is the additional burden of physical dependence. Even if the opioid user can summon up enough will power to temporarily quit, they will likely suffer from intense withdrawal symptoms.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms are typically not physically dangerous, but they put a lot of stress on the body. A woman dependent on opioids who discovers she is pregnant may be concerned about having a miscarriage from the stress of opioid withdrawal.
Another concern may be risks of medical addiction treatment. Expectant mothers may have concerns about their babies being born addicted to Subutex if they take this addiction treatment drug throughout their pregnancy. The fact is that buprenorphine, the ingredient in Subutex, often does not cause the baby to be born addicted. And, it is still far safer than the alternative of continuing street opioids.
Many women have successfully gone through pregnancy and delivered healthy babies without any complications while taking Subutex for opioid addiction. It is typically not a major concern. If you are pregnant and you take Subutex, it is important to let your OB doctor know.
Regarding breastfeeding, the fact is that very little of the medications contained in Suboxone get into the Breast milk. There is little risk to a baby breastfeeding while the mother is on Suboxone. Still, it is important that you speak to your doctor to find out if it is safe for you to breastfeed your newborn. Planning ahead and being honest with your doctors is the best way to ensure success when it comes to pregnancy and care of your newborn infant.