Breastfeeding and Smoking
Currently it is believed to be preferable to breastfeed your baby even if you are a smoker, although you should be aware that some of the chemicals, including nicotine, from the cigarettes will get into your breastmilk. This can reduce your milk supply because your prolactin levels are reduced, making breastfeeding problems more likely.
Babies of smoking breastfeeding mothers are more likely to suffer from colic than babies of non-smoking breastfeeding mothers and in extreme cases they may even suffer from nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.
Smoking has also been implicated in some studies into cot-death (SIDS) and there are suggestions that it could increase the risk by seven-fold.
Ideally, you should at least try to cut down on your smoking, or give up altogether. If you are finding it difficult or very stressful, speak to your doctor who for advice on reducing your stress levels. Your GP may also prescribe nicotine replacement patches.
You should never expose your baby to cigarette smoke or allow anyone else to smoke around your baby as babies and children who breathe in secondary smoke have a higher incidence of asthma, ear infections, eye irritations, bronchitis, croup and pneumonia. Anyone who has smoked should avoid holding your baby for around one hour after their last cigarette as they will still be exhaling toxic fumes up to this point.
If you must smoke try to go outside or into a different room, so that your baby is exposed to as little smoke as possible. It's also wise to breastfeed your baby before you smoke so that your body has a chance to clear the chemicals from the milk before the next feed.
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