Ask Our Experts

Got Questions? We've got answers from experts and parents who've been there.

Can I smoke if I am breastfeeding?

I am 21 weeks pregnant and sadly still smoking a little bit. I was thinking about breastfeeding but wasn't sure if I could if I am smoking.
Submitted by jessicabigley

Smoking in and of itself is an unhealthy habit.  Particularly, however, when a baby is involved.  Smoking during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, poor fetal growth, low levels of amniotic fluid, preterm delivery and problems with the placenta like placenta previa (an abnormal implantation of the placenta over the cervix) and placental abruption (a premature separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus). 


Smoking after a baby is born, whether breastfeeding or not, is also a major health hazzard for your newborn.  We know that babies who are exposed to second hand smoke have a much higher incidence of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).  In addition, we know these infants are also at higher risk of childhood asthma, ear infections, colic and childhood obesity.  This is the best time in your life to quit, not just for yourself but for your baby.  Even if you weren't able to quit during your pregnancy, it's never too late to try.

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

Community Answers9

Answer this Question
Enter an Answer to this Question

500 characters left

Yes. You can still breastfeed and it be safe. Just ask the pediatrician the best way to go about it. These people on here should not put you down for asking this question. It is hard to quit even if it is the best thing to do. All you can do is try. People shouldn't be so quick to judge!
Submitted by belvinjessica
Submitted by ashleyvega
Please, as someone who actually quit at about 10 weeks into her pregnancy, beg your doctor for a way to quit. I didn't realize how badly I smelled to others until I had quit. I didn't realize how awful I felt until I quit. Quitting is the absolute best thing I did for my daughter, who is now four. When I hold the baby of someone who smokes, all I can think of is how the baby stinks. Plus, asthma in children of smokers is a terrible condition that the parents rarely blame on themselves. QUIT!
Submitted by carolcrittendo
Here. go to the Leche League and get an actual answer. "if the mother smokes fewer than twenty cigarettes a day, the risks to her baby from the nicotine in her milk are small. When a breastfeeding mother smokes more than twenty to thirty cigarettes a day, the risks increase. Heavy smoking can reduce a mother's milk supply and on rare occasions has caused in the breastfeeding baby such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps"
Submitted by Mastix
No way, you are giving your baby 2nd hand smoke 2 different ways, on your clothes and in your milk!
Submitted by wrx4tips
NO! There's NO excuse to be smoking when you are pregnant...anyone who is nice to you about this is being mean to your baby. You do your baby great harm and as a mom, it is your duty to have the strength and commitment to do what's right for your baby. Quit today, right now at this very moment. There are hundreds of chemicals in cigs that soak into your body and through your placenta, and into your breastmilk. Do you feel like feeding your baby nicotine, tar and formaldahyde? Grow up.
Submitted by mkopkash
Yes, you can..but you shouldn't. I smoke and breastfed, her pedi told me it is STILL better for her than formula. Try to quit, but even if you cannot, breastfeed
Submitted by s331986
cont... Try to wait at least an hour before feeding your baby after smoking. Change your clothes, wash your hands and brush your teeth before handling your baby, as there have been studies showing that the residue of smoke on you can effect babies. Unfortunately, the advantage over SIDS with breastfeeding is taken away if you smoke, but that would be the same if you were formula feeding. So, look at all the other advantages of breastfeeding! It's one of the best things you can do for your baby!
Submitted by Mrs.vanloo
First of all, what is a little bit? Like 2-3 a day? Then I would say yes! The benefits of breastfeeding still outweigh the negatives of smoking. Everytime I see this question answered, the answer always says never to smoke around your baby. That sure seems like the obvious, and that wasn't the question. Some things to remember... The nicotine passes into your breastmilk, so if you're going to smoke, do it immediately after baby has eaten and gone down for a nap.
Submitted by Mrs.vanloo