It is very unhealthy to smoke while breastfeeding. Pregnancy is an essential time to quit smoking because tobacco smoking while breastfeeding exposes you and your baby to health dangers. Can a woman still breastfeed if she smokes? Is her breast milk safe for the baby?
Can a woman smoke while breastfeeding?
It is possible for nicotine and the other chemicals in cigarettes do gain access into the breast milk at even very high rates. This can expose your baby to the carcinogens in cigarettes through inhaling the second-hand smoke and drinking the milk of a mother smoking while breastfeeding.
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The more cigarettes you smoke on daily basis, the higher the risks of these chemicals gaining access into your baby’s system. Breastfeeding mothers who smoke excessively may experience low production of breast milk and problems for their baby such as diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps.
Health risks of smoking while breastfeeding
Health risks for babies
Babies who are exposed to the cigarette smoke have a much higher risk of developing lung cancer in the future. Some studies have also established a connection to a higher incidence of behavioral problems in babies whose mothers exposed them to cigarette smoking when breastfeeding.
How smoking affects breastfeeding
Breastfeeding mothers who insist on smoking will likely experience low milk production, lower levels of prolactin, early weaning, and even lower levels of iodine in their milk, which can lead to health problems for the baby and mother.
How to reduce the risk of smoking while breastfeeding
To quit smoking is the best way to prevent problems for both baby and the mother.
For breastfeeding mothers who still insists on smoking, there are a few things you can do to lower the risks your baby is exposed to.
- Avoid smoking during or immediately before breastfeeding.
- Smoke immediately after breastfeeding to allow more time between the smoking and the next breastfeeding session.
- Always smoke at a far distance from your baby, to avoid problems of second-hand smoke.
- Smoke fewer cigarettes.
- Change your clothes after smoking before breastfeeding your baby to reduce risk of exposing your baby to second-hand smoke.
- Cover up properly before smoking by using shower cap or other impermeable item that will keep the majority of the fumes from sticking to your hair. Take that cap off when you finished smoking and leave it outside.
Photo source: Baby-pedia.com
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