How to Breastfeed: Can I Smoke?

How to Breastfeed: Can I Smoke?

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If you are a smoker, you may be surprised to learn that you are still recommended to breastfeed your baby. 

Beneficial Breast Milk

Mothers who can’t quit smoking should still breastfeed their baby because breast milk is uniquely designed to protect infants against illnesses. Infants who live in a smoking environment are more susceptible to certain illnesses, especially respiratory issues. The components of breast milk can help protect infants from these increased risks. 


Nicotine from cigarettes does pass into your breast milk but you can reduce the amount your baby will receive. The nicotine level in your breast milk will drop to a very low point about an hour and a half after smoking, so try to time your breastfeeding accordingly. It’s recommended that you breastfeed first and then smoke right afterwards. This can reduce your baby’s exposure to nicotine. 

Every drug you consume will be passed into your breast milk, but most of the time it is at a much lower level than your intake.

Second-Hand Smoke

If you or people in your home smoke, it’s important to prevent passing second-hand smoke to your baby. Don’t smoke around the baby and try to maintain a smoke-free environment inside your home. If you do smoke, do it outside and wear a specific jacket so that you don’t bring the smoke back into the house. 

In addition, do not share a sleeping surface with your infant. It has been shown that babies who sleep with parents who smoke have a higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It’s safe to nurse your baby in the bed, but move it to a separate sleeping surface in between nursings. This will reduce the amount of second-hand smoke and lower the risk of SIDS.

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