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Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Smoking and Breastfeeding
Is smoking while I am breastfeeding harmful?
Breastfeeding is the best start that a new mother can give her newborn. However, smoking can affect the breastfeeding process.
Smoking lowers your prolactin levels (a hormone that helps with milk production). Cigarette smoking has also been shown to interfere with letdown; so smoking immediately before breastfeeding or while breastfeeding should be avoided. If you are a heavy smoker you may have a decrease in your milk supply.
The nicotine in the cigarette crosses into the breast milk with the highest level being shortly after smoking with the amount decreasing. It would be ideal for you to quit smoking, but realizing this is not always possible try to decrease the number of cigarettes you smoke each day, and try to smoke immediately after breast feeding to decrease the amount of nicotine in your breast milk.
It is also a good idea to smoke in a different room from the baby. Cigarette smoking has a relationship to the increased incidence of pneumonia, brochititis and SIDS during the first year of life.
Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati