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Smoking while breastfeeding: implications for mom and baby

Pregnancy, the birth of a baby and its feeding with breast milk are significant reasons to say goodbye to such a bad habit as smoking. It is great if a woman manages to safely get rid of tobacco dependence even before the birth of a child. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and the nursing mother is faced with a serious dilemma: continue breastfeeding or transfer the baby to a mixture?

Is smoking possible when breastfeeding? What are the risks and consequences of each choice?

To overcome the addictive addictions takes time. Many can be difficult to decide on such a step.

However, a nursing mother should understand that smoking while breastfeeding is possible, but it has certain negative consequences for lactation and the health of the baby. Therefore, each woman should be able to make an informed choice in favor of a particular type of feeding, having previously studied different scenarios of events.

In this regard, a selection of facts from scientific studies on the effect of nicotine on the health of infants will help.

This article does not in any way justify smoking a mother during lactation. Of course, the priority is the ideal outcome of the situation – a complete cessation of smoking and continued breastfeeding. Meanwhile, in life often have to look for compromise options.

And in such difficult circumstances, it is very important for a nursing mother to feel supported and to have access to reliable and reasonable information.

To begin with, what do people think about smoking during lactation?

  • World Health Organization. Smoking is not a contraindication to breastfeeding, but WHO warns: negative consequences from the health of the child are not excluded. A nursing mother should individually discuss the issue of combining smoking and breastfeeding with a doctor and lactation consultant.
  • Union of Pediatricians of Russia. His position reads: smoking and breastfeeding mothers should stop using tobacco or at least reduce the daily number of cigarettes. The concentration of harmful substances in secret will not be so significant if the mother smokes immediately after feeding, and not in front of him.
  • International Dairy League. The book on the art of breastfeeding indicates that breastfeeding smoothes the unwanted effect of mother smoking on the baby’s well-being. If a woman consumes no more than 20-30 cigarettes per day, the harmful effect of nicotine on the baby is relatively small. The authors believe that it is optimal for a moderately smoking mother to continue breastfeeding rather than interrupt him.
  • Dr. Jack Newman. A pediatrician states with confidence that mothers who cannot stop smoking should still breastfeed their babies. Because of this, the effects of smoking on a child’s body are less pronounced. The refusal of breastfeeding in favor of the mixture in such a situation, the doctor considers undesirable.
  • Pediatrician Evgeny Komarovsky. Popular pediatrician actively promotes smoking cessation among nursing mothers. However, his point of view is similar to the above: smoking and breastfeeding are preferable to smoking and refusal of natural feeding.

Below are the most pressing questions about smoking during lactation and scientifically based questions on them.

  • Does nicotine get into breast milk? Yes, it is quickly and completely absorbed from the respiratory tract into the bloodstream, and from there it goes into the milk. The half-life of nicotine is about 97 minutes. When blood is purified from traces of a substance, its concentration in secret also drops.
  • How much can you smoke cigarettes? The more cigarettes smoked, the greater the risk to health. Smoking more than 30 cigarettes per day causes more significant harm to the health of the infant, than if the mother does not exceed this limit.
  • How does smoking affect milk secretion? Smoking mothers produce less milk. A Hopkins study (1992) revealed that half a month after the baby was born, due to smoking, smoking mothers reduced daily milk production by (21% compared to non-smokers or from 514 ml to 406 ml). This means that over time, the concentration of prolactin under the influence of nicotine decreases, which leads to inhibition of milk secretion.
  • Are there any other effects on hormones? Smoking may impair the oxytocin reflex. Women who smoke may experience a less active reflex of removing milk from their breasts. Among mothers, this phenomenon is called “tide”. Because of this, the child may receive insufficient nutrition.
  • How does the composition of milk change? Milk smoking women has a poorer composition. It contains lower content of vitamins C, A, E and various proteins. But the level of cadmium and mercury is much higher.
  • Does the duration of feeding change? Smokers’ mothers earlier complete breastfeeding. Moms with tobacco addiction show less motivation for prolonged breastfeeding and breastfeeding in general.
  • Are alternatives safer? Nicotine patch or gum contain less harmful substances than classic cigarettes. This makes their use more benign to the health of the mother and child. An electronic cigarette can also be considered an acceptable substitute for regular cigarettes. However, this is true only if a liquid with a lower nicotine concentration is selected.

According to the international site-reference book on the compatibility of drugs and breastfeeding “E-lactation”, nicotine has the penultimate degree of risk. This means that the tandem “smoking and lactation” is valid, but with possible serious consequences for the condition of the child.

  • Effect on digestion. A crumb can worse gain weight, his appetite disappears, the likelihood of infantile colic and other diseases of the gastrointestinal tract increases, and in the long run the risk of obesity increases. Frequent smoking of a mother can also provoke vomiting, nausea and diarrhea in a child.
  • Harm to the nervous system. Children of smoking moms are more restless. They may also refuse to take the breast and behave fussily if they receive milk from a newly smoked mother.
  • Impact on the bronchi and lungs. Children of parents who smoke often suffer from pneumonia, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses.

Tobacco smoking mother has a cumulative effect on the well-being of the child. This increases the likelihood of sudden death syndrome (SIDS) in the first year of life.

Moreover, in passive smoking, the concentration of nicotine in the baby’s blood is higher than when it is received through mother’s milk.

Thus, smoking while breastfeeding can indeed have dangerous consequences for an infant. However, if a smoking woman thinks about stopping breastfeeding in favor of the mixture, she puts her child at even greater risk.

Women who find it difficult to give up their nicotine addiction can learn to combine breastfeeding and smoking as safely as possible. When organizing feedings, they need to follow certain rules, otherwise the harmful effects of tobacco on the child will be higher:

  • smoke as little as possible;
  • Do not smoke in the room where the child is;
  • never smoke near the baby;
  • smoke in special clothing;
  • after smoking change into clean things;
  • after smoking wash hands, face, brush teeth;
  • smoke after feeding, not in front of him;
  • switch to cigarettes or low nicotine products;
  • control the dynamics of the weight of the child (up to six months he should add at least 600 g per month).

Smoking moms often ask a question about how long after smoking you can feed your baby. It is better to apply it before you go smoking, or two or three hours after that.

Smoking cigarettes is very addictive, so it is not easy to say goodbye to this habit. If a nursing mother is seriously looking for a positive result, she can benefit from safer low nicotine aids.

  • E-Sigs. Let off steam, not smoke. They contain less harmful substances, do not emit an unpleasant smell, and their aroma is not absorbed into clothing. The degree of safety for the child is determined by the concentration of nicotine in the liquid, which is used for “soaring”. And yet, these cigarettes are best not to use next to the baby.
  • Nicotine patch. Maintains a stable, but lower concentration of nicotine in the mother’s bloodstream. Need to shoot it at night.
  • Nicotine gum. According to materials from the book on the compatibility of drugs and mother’s milk by T. Hale, the use of nicotine gum reduces the presence of nicotine in the bloodstream of women by 30-60% compared with regular smokers. This indicator is less stable than in the case of the nicotine patch. And if you chew such a cud too quickly, the nicotine concentration will be equal to smoking.

One of the last stages of parting with smoking can be an electronic cigarette without nicotine. It supports the illusion of smoking, but when choosing a non-nicotine fluid, it does not adversely affect the mother and baby.

Sometimes you can find reviews that hookah is less harmful than cigarettes. Typically, this option involves the use of tobacco blends, which include nicotine.

The harm of such a substitute depends on the strength of the mixture, as well as the presence of various impurities in it. Yet in the process of smoking a hookah, even if it is without tobacco, combustion products and carcinogens are released that are not beneficial for the body of a nursing mother. In addition, for one hookah smoking session there is a risk of getting a larger dose of nicotine than when smoking a regular cigarette.

This is true even for mixtures with a low concentration of nicotine. Therefore, after smoking a hookah, it is worth adhering to the same safety rules as in the situation with cigarettes.

Can a nursing mother smoke? The answer to this question can only give yourself a woman. From the point of view of science, smoking and breastfeeding can be combined, but the harm to the health of the infant does not disappear.

If a mother is unable to say goodbye to cigarettes, breastfeeding will partially protect her baby from the negative effects of smoking. This is a more rational choice than switching to artificial mixtures while maintaining the habit of smoking.

My child can not smell at all. Only grandfather smokes surrounded (not with him, of course, but there is a smell). So the son as the grandfather will see – so in tears.

They are very sensitive to such sharp smells.

Children of smoking mothers are more restless and capricious! You can read about it in the Internet.

There is an example: my friend fed for about a year and at the same time smoked and even sipped beer, so constantly complained that her daughter did not sleep at night, yelling for sleep doesn’t give and in general is capricious in life. I always thought about her complaints, still …

I smoke. Slightly true, but I smoke.

Only after feeding. Every night I fall asleep with the thought that I do not smoke from tomorrow.

Does not work. Already I do not know what to do.

It is urgent to throw. It’s harmful.

I admit, smoked during pregnancy, shame so far! But after seeing my son, I never took a cigarette in my hands!

How disgusting it seems to me to be stoned to approach my prince … I really want to smoke! When we leave Titia, I’ll smoke.

A child of smoking parents is usually weak, nervous, often sick, poorly tolerates various diseases, sometimes his skin and eyesight is affected, in especially severe cases there are deviations in mental development. Therefore, a pregnant woman and a mother who is breastfeeding a baby should not smoke, even so …

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