Clinical Management of the Breast-Feeding Mother–Infant Dyad in Recovery From Opioid Dependence

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Abstract: Human milk is one of the most health-promoting and cost-effective nutritional substances known to humankind. Breastmilk provides substantial and remarkable physiological and psychological health benefits. Within the last decade, there has been a resurgence of breast-feeding in the United States and worldwide and an increased awareness of the immense health benefits for mothers, infants, and societies that support it. Each mother–baby dyad is a unique pair, with distinct relationships, biases, barriers, and obstacles. This article aims to address clinical management for the opioid-recovering breast-feeding dyad and to translate current evidenced-based practice findings, recommendations, and resources to best support this unique population. The recovering breast-feeding mother and newborn with opioid dependence deserve special consideration and expert care to foster their recovery and breast-feeding efforts. It is our moral and ethical responsibility as healthcare professionals to enable, foster, and promote breast-feeding among all families, especially those who stand to benefit the greatest. Substance recovery cannot be treated in isolation, nor can breast-feeding efforts; an interdisciplinary professional team effort promises the greatest chances for recovery success. With appropriate evidence-based practice support, training, and intervention by knowledgeable professionals, many women can overcome the biases and obstacles associated with opioid recovery to successfully breast-feed their babies.

Related Topics

  • Behavioral Health
  • Children 0-5
  • Medical Care