Nursing mothers exposed to cigarette smoke in their homes may stop breastfeeding sooner than women not exposed to second-hand smoke.


According to the study published in the Breastfeeding Medicine journal, researchers determined that smoke can affect breastfeeding habits.

“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,” explains Marie Tarrant, director of UBC Okanagan’s School of Nursing.

“In fact, the more smokers there were in the home, the shorter the breastfeeding duration.”


Nicotine is transmitted in the breastmilk to the child and there is also some suggestion that it can reduce the overall quantity of the breastmilk.

“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,” says Tarrant.

“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.”


The researchers advised nursing mothers to steer clear of places where people are smoking.

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