Although it’s a well-known fact that smoking is harmful to the health everyone especially for babies, some lactating mothers have found it difficult to quit it completely. So many women have previously asked whether they can smoke while breastfeeding their babies. The advice is very clear- it’s dangerous to be smoking near a baby hence should be avoided. But what if you can’t avoid it after having a baby?
Well, according to research, if you smoke a few minutes to breastfeeding your baby nicotine will be transmitted to the breast milk. Since nicotine has a half-life of one and a half hours, it will remain in your breast milk for at least three hours. Smoking may, therefore, reduce the level of vitamin c and affect your milk production.
How smoking affects breastfeeding
- Earlier weaning– according to research, heavy smokers tend to wean their babies early.
- Lower milk production– smoking affects the production of milk.
- Smoking mothers who stay in areas of mild iodine deficiency have little iodine in their breast milk.
- Smoking increases the risk of cot death also known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
How long after smoking should I breastfeed my baby
When you smoke, the nicotine levels in your milk and blood increase before decreasing over time. In addition, exhaled carbon monoxide significantly increases in the first hour. This means if you smoke right after breastfeeding your baby, you reduce the amount of nicotine in breast milk. About 90 minutes after smoking the nicotine level in your blood and milk reduces by half.
If you can’t quit when breastfeeding, you need to hold on until you breastfeed the baby. You also need to wait for at least 4 hours before breastfeeding the baby again. If you can, make sure you cut down on cigarette smoking as less cigarette smoked means lower levels of nicotine, less environmental smoke and better health for you and the baby.
As a breastfeeding mother, you need to decide what’s good for you. While some mothers quit, others try to minimize the effects by smoking less or smoking in a different room. Remember, less smoking will be not only good for your baby but also your whole family’s health.