Weighing the Odds: Smoking While Nursing

March 2, 2016

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Weighing the Odds: Smoking While Nursing
Photo Courtesy of: Ellen Gibbs 

Can an Infant be at Risk From Smoking Through Breastfeeding? 

Most of us know by now that smoking during pregnancy has detrimental– even fatal– effects on a baby’s development inside the womb, but is there any harm associated with smoking while breastfeeding?

Each case should be evaluated on an individual level, that is: how much is the mother smoking? How long has the mother been smoking? What is the mother’s health background? External factors come into play, but aside from that, the more nicotine is absorbed in the body, the more it will be in absorbed by the infant during breastfeeding.

The degree of harm varies based on each individual case, but the American Academy of Pediatrics believes even the occasional cigarette leaves behind toxic effects.

What are these effects?

Smoking has links to low supplies of breast milk, and studies have shown that substances from cigarettes may result in allergenic issues prolonged through life.

What can I do?

Quitting cold turkey is nothing less than difficult. Keep in mind though, that each time you say no to a cigarette, is a cigarette that will not harm your baby. Each time you decide to smoke a cigarette, you’re not only making that decision for yourself, but for your baby as well. 

For any inquiries about the use of drugs and other substances during pregnancy or breastfeeding, visit the LactMed website.

Always consult your healthcare provider before starting a new drug, or if you are seeking help through quitting. 

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