Breastfeeding and Methadone Therapy: The Maternal Experience


Despite evidence of low transfer of methadone into breast milk and the potential physical and psychological benefits that breastfeeding offers for methadone-exposed mothers and infants, the rate of breastfeeding initiation in this population is about half that reported nationally. This study describes the perceptions surrounding breastfeeding decisions and management among pregnant and postpartum women taking methadone.


Interventions to increase the prevalence of breastfeeding among women taking methadone should address identified logistical, educational, and psychological barriers and consider inclusion of women themselves, partners, peers, and clinicians. In particular, clinicians who care for methadone-exposed mothers and infants should be educated on therapeutic communication, up-to-date breastfeeding contraindications, and the health benefits of breastfeeding in this population.