Today’s woman, such as yourself, when becoming a mom-to-be is very thoughtful and proactive. During your pregnancy, you paid extra attention to your diet, exercised regularly and quit smoking. Now that you’ve had your baby, you may be tempted to start smoking again. But is it safe to smoke now, after you delivered your baby? Can you really take up the cigarette again while you’re breastfeeding?
Is Smoking Safe While Breastfeeding?
Many researches and studies have confirmed that smoking is bad for health, and moms who are breastfeeding their babies should make it a point to avoid smoking during that period. Your milk is your baby’s primary food. The more cigarettes you smoke, the higher the number of health risks both you and your vulnerable little baby may have to face.
However, if you do smoke, do not stop breastfeeding your baby. Breastfeeding is the best source of immunity you can give to your baby, which will protect him against most major health conditions.
[ Read: Effect Of Smoking On Baby ]
How Smoking During Breastfeeding Affects Your Baby:
Smoking doesn’t just impact your body – the nicotine that enters your body gets dissolved into breast milk, and it does pass on to your baby’s body too. This is why most healthcare providers recommend women to stop smoking while breastfeeding, or at least cut down the number of cigarettes that they consume per day.
There are many harmful effects of smoking while breastfeeding, that may have an impact on your baby in several ways.
- Your baby may be at a higher risk of being affected by ear infections, sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and eye irritation.
- Babies born to heavy smoking moms may develop certain symptoms such as abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.
- Babies born to parents who smoke also have 7 times a higher risk of dying of a condition known as sudden infant death syndrome.
- Smoking during breastfeeding may also double up your baby’s risk of being affected by lung cancer later in his life. He is also more likely to be a smoker himself.
- Smoking may put your baby at a higher risk of respiratory infections and illnesses that are related to allergies.
- Exposure to passive smoke also puts the baby at a risk of having lower levels of good cholesterol, which is known to protect the heart from coronary artery disease.
- Colic problems are more commonly observed in kids whose moms smoke while breastfeeding.
What’s more, smoking during pregnancy can also have several negative impacts on your health too.
- It may decrease your milk production and trigger early weaning.
- It may lower the levels of prolactin (a hormone) in your body.
- It may also cause a deficiency of iodine (which is needed for optimum thyroid function for the baby) in your milk.
[ Read: Toxins In Breastmilk ]
How to Minimize the Risks:
Given the fact that smoking during breastfeeding has such a significant impact on both you and your baby’s well being, it is important to take steps to minimize the negative impacts.
- Stop smoking completely during breastfeeding. If not possible, make it a point to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke every day. Make sure you do not smoke immediately before or during breastfeeding.
- To minimize your baby’s exposure to nicotine through your breast milk, smoke immediately after you breastfeed your baby. Basically try to increase the time span between breastfeeding and smoking.
- Avoid smoking in the same room with your baby. Try smoking outside in the air, and minimize your baby’s exposure to cigarette smoke in all forms.
[ Read: Alcohol During Breastfeeding ]
We hope this article explained to you the various risks of smoking during breast feeding. Many smokers quit during pregnancy, keeping in mind the baby’s health but are often tempted to get on the smokers’ wagon again, after delivery. But the truth is smoking at any stage of life does nothing more than exposing you to several health risks.
Did we motivate you enough to stop smoking entirely? If you feel you are addicted to smoking, please talk to a counselor or your doctor to get necessary advice. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.
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