{BREASTFEEDING FACT DU JOUR: “I need a cigarette! Can I still breastfeed if I smoke?”} Client: Milk for Thought

Lactation consultants report that smoking is a reason some moms give for not breastfeeding. However, women who smoke can definitely breastfeed, and, actually, physicians recommend breastfeeding and smoking over formula feeding. Breastfeeding may even help you quit smoking, which is the healthiest thing for you, your baby and your entire family.

While cigarette smoke doesn’t get passed through the breastmilk to your baby, the biggest concern is your baby being affected by secondhand smoke. Smoking is associated with an increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

You should never smoke near your baby, especially in an enclosed area like your kitchen or car (not to mention that, in many states, it’s illegal to smoke in a car with anyone under the age of 18). Likewise, if someone around you is smoking, you should take your baby elsewhere.

Talk to your doctor about the best ways to quit smoking for good, and get support from your family and partner. If your partner smokes (including a tobacco pipe), he should quit as well, for the health of your family.

If you decide to continue smoking after breastfeeding, be sure to have someone watch your baby while you go outside and away from him. Also, try wearing a jacket or coat over your clothes so they don’t smell of cigarettes when you go to nurse your baby later.

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