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Newborn and Infant Care

Smoker

09/22/1997

Question:

what are the consequences, if any, of smoking and breastfeeding?

Answer:

Smoking, irrespective of how you feed your baby, will affect your baby`s health. Researchers have found an increase in the incidence of pneumonia, bronchitis and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) during the first year of life. Smoking will affect breastfeeding in a variety of ways. Research has found that heavy smoking can reduce your milk supply, and in rare instances it will cause vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea in the baby. Additionally smoking will lower your level of prolactin, the hormone needed to develop a good milk supply. The let-down or milk ejection reflex is also affected by smoking, and to decrease the effect you should not smoke immediately before or during breastfeeding. If you smoke and want to breastfeed, ideally you would stop smoking. However, cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke each day, will benefit you and your baby. When you smoke, smoke in an area away from your baby and other children.

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Response by:

Tina   Weitkamp, RNC, MSN Tina Weitkamp, RNC, MSN
Associate Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati