It is no secret that smoking during pregnancy is strongly correlated to adverse outcomes for infants. The scientific research dates back decades and links mothers who smoke while pregnant to premature births, underweight babies, miscarriages and a slew of other adverse outcomes. What is less often spoken about is smoking while breastfeeding.
This could cause inadequate nourishment for your baby which defeats the purpose of breastfeeding all together. Smoking while breastfeeding decreases levels of prolactin as well as the fat content in breast milk, making it more difficult for babies to get enough calories and healthy fats. A baby’s development is directly correlated to their source of nourishment it should not be tainted, as it is when a mother smokes while breastfeeding.
When you smoke, nicotine is pumped through your bloodstream and your breast milk is exposed to this.
- Less sleep
- Respiratory problems
- Nausea and even Nicotine Addiction in infants
- Decreased levels of iodine in their systems which can lead to developmental damage and thyroid problems.
The problems don’t stop with breast milk contamination for the baby. Second hand smoke is a big problem as well. Infants who are exposed to second hand smoke are more likely to contract pneumonia, ear infections, upper respiratory infections, sinus infections and are more likely to get lung cancer.
All risks associated with smoking while breastfeeding are magnified because of a baby’s small size and their underdeveloped immune system. A good rule of thumb is it is best to not smoke while breastfeeding. Whether it is exposure to nicotine in the breast milk, second hand smoke, or any of the other countless adverse outcomes, the potential for harm to your baby is too great to justify.