Breastfeeding and smokingNicole Wendler is a biologist with a doctorate in oncology and immunology. As a medical editor, author and proofreader, she works for various publishers, for whom she presents complicated and extensive medical facts in a simple, concise and logical way.
Mothers who breastfeeding and smoking, often torments a guilty conscience. If most women succeed in giving up nicotine during pregnancy, many quickly succumb to the old addiction again after giving birth. Not a few of the affected mothers therefore breastfeed prematurely. Read here whether it is really necessary, how harmful the glowing stick is during the breastfeeding period and why also smoking fathers should think of their child.
Breastfeeding and smoking: Risks and dangers
Cigarette smoke contains numerous harmful and cancer-causing substances that reach the infant as passive smoke via the air it breathes or via breast milk. In addition, the toxins adhere to the skin of smokers. Mothers who breastfeed and smoke are therefore harming their baby and can expect breastfeeding problems.
Diarrhea can be dangerous for the little ones. Watch the video to learn how to recognize an emergency situation and administer first aid.
Pollutants in breast milk
If you breastfeed and smoke, the pollutants in cigarettes accumulate in breast milk: In addition to nicotine, dioxins, benzpyrenes, nitrosamines, and heavy metals from cigarette smoke enter the milk and, when the baby drinks, enter the baby's gastrointestinal tract.
The more cigarettes you smoke, the greater the burden on your baby.
If the last cigarette was smoked an hour ago, the concentration of some substances (z.B. of nicotine) in the mother's milk again.
Smoking promotes breastfeeding problems
Smoking lowers the prolactin level, especially at the beginning of breastfeeding. Therefore, in women who consume more than ten cigarettes per day, the onset of lactation is later. In addition, these women produce less milk than non-smokers. The more you smoke, the more pronounced the adverse effects are
In addition, nicotine alters the taste of milk, so that babies drink less easily and milk retention often follows.
In most cases, regular breastfeeding ensures that the hormone levels of prolactin and oxytocin eventually level out despite cigarette consumption.
Smoking harms the baby
What breastfeeding and smoking do to the child's organism in the long term is difficult to study. Doctors can only speculate whether the pollutants in cigarettes could, for example, promote cancer in the child later on. Direct consequences of breastfeeding. Smoking results from observations. These show that babies of smoking mothers
– drink less well, – are more restless, – vomit more often, – suffer from colic, and – gain weight slower. pseudocroup). Sudden infant death syndrome. Allergy risk also seems to be increased. Not only is polluted breast milk to blame for these complications, but also secondhand smoke, from which every baby must be actively protected.
Not only mothers but also fathers are therefore responsible for their child and should leave the home to smoke. The experts are stuck on the subject of breastfeeding. Smoking in a dilemma. Of course, cigarette smoke is harmful, and no infant should be exposed to it. If a nursing mother smokes, the pollutants end up in breast milk and thus in the baby.
Contrast this with the many positive aspects of breastfeeding that babies have been shown to benefit from. So what to do when mothers breastfeed and smoke?
The Federal Ministry of Health in Germany and the National Breastfeeding Commission advise that ideally you should not smoke during the breastfeeding period. If this is too difficult, you should at least try to reduce the number of cigarettes and under no circumstances light a cigarette in the presence of the child.
Very heavy nicotine use harms the child. Women who are not able to stop smoking altogether, but can reduce the number of cigarettes per day to a few, should breastfeed. The benefits of breast milk and physical contact seem to outweigh the health disadvantages of smoking. Weaning is not necessary.
Breastfeeding and smoking: What you can do?
If you adhere to the following points, the positive aspects of breastfeeding outweigh the negative:
– Smoke as little as possible! – Make sure to take a break from smoking before breastfeeding (at least one hour). – Change clothes before breastfeeding if they smell strongly of smoke. – First breastfeeding, then smoking! – Never smoke near the baby. – Ensure a smoke-free home. – Smokers should not share the bed with the baby – otherwise the risk of sudden infant death syndrome increases.
Ideally, you as a mother should refrain from combining breastfeeding and smoking – you may be able to give up cigarettes at least for the short period of breastfeeding. If this does not succeed, you should at least reduce your tobacco consumption: Every cigarette you don't smoke is a gain!
As a matter of principle, no one should light a cigarette in the home or near a child, as passive smoke also harms the baby.
And maybe you use breastfeeding as an impulse to renounce tobacco altogether. Appropriate smoking cessation programs help with this. Of course, it is healthiest for nursing mothers to refrain from smoking altogether.