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Submitted by tom on 30 April 2019

This article clearly suggests that it may be beneficial to continue breastfeeding and infant in a mother who has been consuming opiates, particularly those dependent on opiates. They suggest it may actually reduce infant withdrawal somewhat.

- Dr. Thomas Hale



The objective of this study is to assess whether infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), who receive maternal breast milk (BM), have shorter pharmacological treatment durations and lengths of stay compared with formula-fed infants.


Retrospective data analysis from Optum Neonatal Database for infants born between 1 January 2010 and 21 November 2016, who received treatment for NAS. Clinical characteristics and outcomes were compared between infants who received any amount of BM and those exclusively formula-fed.


Infants (1738) were analyzed. Median length of pharmacological treatment was significantly lower in infants who received any BM (14 days) compared with "no BM" group (17 days, p = 0.04). Similarly, median length of hospitalization was significantly reduced in "any BM" group (19 days vs. 20 days), which remained significant after adjustment for confounders (p = 0.01). There was no difference in hospital re-admission rates.


Feeding any BM to infants with NAS was associated with both decreased lengths of pharmacological treatment and hospital stay compared with exclusively formula-fed infants.

PMID: 30988400

DOI: 10.1038/s41372-019-0374-1