Smoking can affect breastfeeding habits

Exposure to household smoke shortens duration.

Young mother breastfeeding her newborn baby boy at home
Image:; Shutterstock

In a new study by the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, scientists studied moms who are most likely to expose cigarette in their homes and their breastfeeding habits. The study suggests that experiencing cigarette smoke in the household lead them to stop breastfeeding early.

Scientists examined over 1,200 women from four large hospitals in Hong Kong. This is the first study that focuses on the effect of family members’ smoking on the duration of breastfeeding.

Professor Marie Tarrant, Director of UBC Okanagan’s School of Nursing said, “Our study showed that just being in a smoking household–whether it was the husband, mother or member of the extended family–reduced the time that a child was breastfed. In fact, the more smokers there was in the home, the shorter the breastfeeding duration.”

“Our findings were consistent with previous studies and we found that exposure to household smokers also had a substantial negative effect on breastfeeding practices. More than one-third of participants had partners or other household members who smoked. And fathers who smoked were significantly less likely to prefer breastfeeding when compared with non-smoking partners.”

While breastfeeding, nicotine is transmitted in the breastmilk to the child. And there is a possibility it may reduce the overall quantity of the breastmilk.

The study strongly recommends that ladies and their families quit smoking before they become pregnant and for new moms to hold up until the point that they have completed the process of breastfeeding, on the off chance that they restart smoking. And if a woman chooses to smoke with a baby in the home, they make sure the infant is not exposed to second-hand smoke.

Tarrant said, “We know the effects of environmental tobacco smoke on young babies is very detrimental as babies who are around smoking are more like to get respiratory infections and other experience other respiratory problems. However, if a mother is breastfeeding, the benefits of her doing that still outweigh the negative effects of the smoking as long as she maintains good smoking hygiene and doesn’t expose the baby to tobacco smoke.”

Tarrant’s study was published recently in the Breastfeeding Medicine journal