A lot of women who smoke are often told to limit or stop smoking during pregnancy and even after the baby is born. The main reason for quitting smoking after the birth of the baby is related to breastfeeding. A breastfeeding mother transfers a lot of the nutrients she takes in to the baby through the breast milk.

Smoking While Breastfeeding

In a similar way, even some of the negative effects of the smoke of a cigarette might have an impact on the newly born. The more the cigarettes a nursing mother smokes, the higher is the risk to the baby and hence it is recommended that a breastfeeding mother must cut down either completely on cigarettes or atleast to a large extent.

The Effects of Smoking on Breastfeeding Mothers:

  • If you are a breastfeeding mother who smokes, then you must know that smoking may lead to earlier weaning and those who smoke very heavily tend to wean the earliest.
  • Smoking may also lead to lower milk production and this is another negative side effect of smoking on breastfeeding.
  • This may also result in interference with milk-let down.
  • Those mothers who smoke may experience lower levels of prolactin in case of breastfeeding.  Prolactin is a hormone which is important for breastfeeding as it helps in the milk synthesis.
  • Some studies have shown that smoking mothers may experience iodine deficiency in their breast milk and this is another side effect or negative effect of smoking on breastfeeding.

Effects of Smoking on Babies of Breastfeeding Mothers

  • Those mothers who are heavy smokers and are breastfeeding occasionally experience symptoms in breastfeeding baby such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and even abdominal cramps.
  • There might be presence of colic acid in those babies whose mothers are breastfeeding and are smokers.  Many studies and research have shown that nicotine from the breastfeeding mothers gets transferred to babies.  This nicotine in the milk may upset the baby. Infact babies of smoking mothers tend to fuss more.

How to Minimize Risk of Smoke in Babies of Breastfeeding Mothers

The following are some of the ways through which one can minimize the risk of smoke in babies of breastfeeding mothers:

  • The best way is to stop smoking altogether.  This is the best possible way to reduce or eliminate negative effects of smoking on breastfeeding babies.
  • If you can’t quite smoking altogether then the next possible way is to cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke per day or within a given period of time.  The lesser you smoke; the lesser is the risk to the baby.
  • The next way to avoid negative effects on babies is to avoid smoking immediately before breastfeeding or even during breastfeeding.  This will lessen the negative effects of smoking on babies of breastfeeding mothers.
  • Avoid smoking in the same room as that of the baby.  You must infact try to smoke outside or as away from the baby or children as possible.  You must also tell everyone not to smoke in front of your baby.

Photo Credit By: theguardian.com