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Breastfeeding and Smoking

on October 12, 2012

Breastfeeding and smoking is an issue a lot of people ask me about. I’m assuming you know you should not smoke while you’re pregnant! The nicotine you ingest smoking will go through your body and into your baby’s body, addicting it just as surely as you’re addicted. Not only might your child suffer from the harmful effects of all of those chemicals you’re passing on, but when it’s born, it will go through withdrawal symptoms.

So, if you’re pregnant, you need to quit!

Now, what if you just had your child and you can’t (or won’t) quit?

There’s been a big push in the last ten or so years to get mothers in the United States and elsewhere to breastfeed. Breastfeeding offers your child a ton of benefits, including greater immunity to diseases. It might even help protect him from cancer down the line.

But if you’re breastfeeding and smoking, I’m sure you’ve wondered if the harmful chemicals you’re getting through smoking are being passed through your milk to your child.

The answer is, yes they are. For the most part, whatever you ingest into your body can be passed along to your baby through breastfeeding.

So, what are you to do?

Well, the obvious answer is you need to quit smoking! However, that’s much easier said than done. What if you can’t quit-at least for now.

What I don’t want to do is to ever give you an out when it comes to smoking. Let me make myself completely clear: You must quit! And you must quit now!

We do, however, live in a real world, and I know that not every new mother who is breastfeeding and smoking is going to quit just because I said so. So, let’s discuss what you should do about your breast milk! In other words, should you give up nursing, if you can’t quit smoking?

Before I did some research on this topic, I would have thought that, yes…you should give up nursing if you smoke. After all your baby is getting all of that harmful stuff through you. The CDC, however, thinks otherwise.

The CDC actually recommends that you should breastfeed, even if you smoke. Turns out, breastfeeding is so incredibly good for your child that the benefits outweigh the potential harm.

You still need to quit, though. For more information on how to quit, see my website.
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