Believe it or not we still have women in 2020 smoking whilst breastfeeding, and more often than not it has to do with substance abuse. The message has been out there for a long time for mothers and 95% of women will do the right thing.
Women are strongly encouraged to breastfeed but the ones who smoke are more likely to have a lower milk supply, and those who do breastfeed tend to wean their babies earlier than women who don’t smoke. Studies indicate that smoking more than 10 cigarettes per day decreases milk production and alters milk composition. Furthermore, mothers who smoke are more likely to think that their milk supply is inadequate and are less motivated to breastfeed. Finally, breastfed babies whose mothers smoke more than 5 cigarettes daily exhibit behaviors (e.g. colic and crying) that may promote early weaning.
Breastfeeding and Smoking
If you smoke just before breastfeeding, nicotine is transmitted to your baby in your breast milk. The half-life of nicotine is about an hour and a half, meaning it will still be in your breastmilk for at least three hours after you smoke. Some nicotine may remain after this time.2
Smoking can also inhibit your milk production and might reduce the level of vitamin C that your baby is getting through your breastmilk.
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