Another question/debate.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Another question/debate.....
17
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 12:23pm
So many of you said that a smoking mother shouldn't bf b/c small amounts of nicotine, etc can be transferred through her bm to baby. Does that mean that mothers who must take other medications should not bf because small amounts are transmitted through breastmilk?

Some have said that nicotine is addictive so baby could become addicted. But there are also a lot of other medications that are addictive that bf'ing mothers take & are considered safe while bf - Vicodin, for example. There are also other medications that there aren't a lot of studies done on their transfer in human milk - but they are deemed safe for nursing mothers to take by the "experts" because of what we know about the properties of that medication. Even Lithium *may* be okay as long as baby is monitored (not something I would feel comfortable taking & bf'ing, personally, but for some, the risk of not bf'ing may be greater).

So - should bf'ing mothers not be able to take ANY medications because it might pass through her milk? What about alcohol? Caffiene? Should bf'ers have to adhere to a strict diet & not take any medications that may or may not be in bm or effect the baby? Even if recent research shows that it is (or may be) okay?

Michelle

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Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 12:38pm
UGH!! Is noone reading my posts??

Michelle, I am starting to get a bit pissed off. It seems noone is paying attention to what I am posting with regard to smoking and bfing. I am not talking about just nicotine. I am talking about the 4000 other ingredients in a single cigarette. I am talking about the 47 or 48 known carcinogens!! THOSE chemicals as well as nicotine.....I don't want my baby to ingest, whether by bm or second-hand smoke.

I think medications.....taken by themselves under scrutiny don't pose the health hazard smoking does.

I am a bit confused as well regarding this ......."who knows what will be found years down the road".....that many of us against smoking and bf give as an argument. I wonder myself what they will find. More over, I am concerned of what they don't find...or could never possibly know. That is, what is in bm and what effects it has later in life. KWIM?? Who is to say that the 4000 checmicals and 47 or 48 known carcinogens your baby was ingesting through bm or inhaling from smoke.....DOESN'T have an effect on them later in life?? Who knows?? Who will ever know?? Can it ever be known?? I doubt it. And THAT is why THAT risk is too high for me. Period.


christine





~christine~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 1:34pm
Well, I think if a necessary medication is prescribed and has been deemed "safe" for a nursing mother, then it's ok, if she feels comfortable taking it. But I would also ? some of those meds. that are considered safe-like you said about lithium.

However, I do have to admit I have refused to take some prescriptions even though they are safe for BF. I also reluctantly took the motrin in the hospital after having Sierra. I've had a couple of sips of DH's beers on occasion & I won't drink anything w/ caffiene. I also am careful not too eat too much processed foods & junk food. So I have altered my habits considerably for my kids, athough I understand that others may not be that strict.

As far as the smoking thing goes, it isn't solely nicotine that is the problem. There is so much other "bad stuff" to think about. There apparently are a few exceptions, however, in most instances, I don't think there is a real "need" to smoke & I am speaking as a former smoker. There is a difference in caring for your health & destroying the health of others around you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 1:41pm
We personally don't believe in ANY alcohol consumption so our beliefs stand there....

I don't personally have a problem w/caffeine usage as long as it is not excessive to cause problems. I think the medications would depend on *what* kind of meds and *how* much is getting thru from the mother to her breastmilk.

I cannot use my breastmilk due to my high b/p meds. The meds that are *best* for me are non-compatible w/breastfeeding so I'd not exclusively pump and take the chance. I may very well pump *if* I could take meds that are safe for breastmilk.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 1:44pm
I personally abstained from caffien, alcohol, and medications while breastfeeding. Those substances are not all that good for you anyway.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 4:05pm
I think there's a big difference between a medication that is needed to improve or sustain a mother's health and a cigarette.

If all conventional wisdom points to bf being safe while on a certain medication, that's all you have to go on. Sure you could worry about what will happen 20 years from now, but if the medication has been tested and is deemed safe to be transmitted through bm, I think bf is the way to go if that's what you want to do.

We don't need 20 years to find out the effects of smoking. No one NEEDS to smoke. That's a choice.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 4:30pm
Christine,

I don't mean to seem like I'm ignoring your valid points about the other 4000 ingredients in cigarettes. I'm basing my information on the fact that none of the information - including that from the ALA - mentions anything besides nicotine when they talk about bf'ing & smoking. The ALA doesn't have a whole lot to say on the subject of bf'ing & smoking (but, they do have A LOT to say on smoking & pregnancy). I followed the link from the Why Quit website you referenced earlier & this is what they have regarding smoking & bf'ing:

Smoking while Breast Feeding

According to the American Lung Association® (American Lung Association September 2000), women should not smoke while breast feeding because, "Breast milk often contains whatever is in the woman's body. If the woman smokes, the baby ingests the nicotine in her breast milk."

To me, this short statement does not tell me they have done a lot of research on this topic. They just assume that becuase a small amount of nicotine may be ingested by baby that it is automatically enough to cause harm. Has anyone at the ALA studied the actual levels of nicotine in bm? It the amount that baby ingests enough to be harmful to baby? Is nicotine able to be absorbed by baby through the gut? These are questions I can't answer at the moment - but I do know that nicotine is listed in Dr. Hale's book, so I will look it up when I get home tonight.

As for the other ingredients in cigarettes - Doing a quick glance over the list, a lot of them seem harmless (apple juice concentrate, beeswax, Chamomile Flower Oil, Fenugreek & Yeast for example). Yes, there are carcinogins in cigarettes - but the question remains - how much of those are present in bm (if any at all) and what is their oral bioavalibility (can they be absorbed from the gut or do they just get passed on as waste)? It may be that those other ingredients are not discussed because the amounts that may be/are in bm are so minute that it will not effect baby. You have peaked my curiousity on this, though & I'm going to see what other information I can find.

I still stand by my opinion (as I'm sure you will stand by yours) - babies of smokers, especially those babies exposed to second hand smoke, need breastmilk, maybe even more than babies of non-smokers. I think it is expecially true for those babies who are around smokers & are exposed to second hand smoke. Those babies are in more danger from the stuff in the are that they are breathing in than from what they may ingest in mom's milk. Those babies need the extra protection that the antibodies in breasmilk provides to help them fight off infections & help counter the other harmful effects of second hand smoke.

Respectfully - Michelle

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 4:39pm
Actually, Lithium is listed as an L4 - Possibly Hazardous (one step above Contraindicated). The decision to bf while taking an L4 medication needs to be considered very carefully & should be made in conjunction with a medical professional. Personally, I would not bf if I had to take an L4 med unless there was some extenuating circumstances where it would be better for my baby to bf while I took the medication than to have formula. Even then, I would try to find a bm donor before nursing. If I did nurse while on an L4, I would want my baby monitored very closely by his doctor. I would not recommend anyone nurse & take an L4 med unless they are working closely with their doc & baby's doc to monitor the situation.

Michelle

Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 5:29pm
4000 ingredients...and MOST of them look pretty serious to me, not to mention the 43 KNOWN carcinogens.

I also stand by my point......IMO, anyone who smokes around a child and or/ bf's while smoking is selfish.

I thought I had read that nicotine had a cumulative effect.....it builds up in the body. That of the baby.....???

I will have to research more on the ALA's stance. But truthfully, the American Cancer Society tells us that smoking cigarettes "CAUSES" cancer and/or heart disease. Does anything else need to be said??

Oh.....one more thing. Just because one things *seems* to be the lesser of two evils, does NOT make it right.


christine


~christine~

Avatar for cl_sunny_side_up
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 6:07pm
Ok....I have done more research on these "ingredients" over 200 of them are KNOWN poisons!!

Also, here is a quote from the AAP(November 2001)regarding bf. Doesn't seem so cut and dry to me:

"<<

Past research reports that smoking not only decreases a woman’s milk production but is also known to lower the infant’s weight gain. Nicotine has also been linked to a higher risk of respiratory illnesses, including ear infections. And while the AAP strongly advises mothers and fathers not to smoke, the organization also realizes that, for some, the habit may not be broken.

With this in mind, the AAP recommends that babies exposed to secondhand smoke still be breastfed. Research has shown that, among women who smoked throughout breastfeeding, there was still a lower rate of respiratory illness among their infants in comparison to the mothers who bottle-fed and continued to smoke. However, data continues to be gathered, and the AAP’s Committee on Drugs has not made a decision regarding the use of nicotine (or alternate nicotine sources used to assist with smoking cessation) and breastfeeding.">>>



One last thing......regarding Dr. Hale. HE doesn't say anything "negative" about marijuana use and breastfeeding either. You can imply that occasional smoking marijuana and breastfeeding is a good idea too. Does that make it right?? NO!!


christine




~christine~

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 03-31-2003 - 6:39pm
I never said it was a cut & dry issue. And you'll notice that even though there is still research to be done, "the AAP recommends that babies exposed to secondhand smoke still be breastfed."

The question still remains, Christine, that we don't know if those poisons/other ingredients are even present in breastmilk. Yes, the American Cancer Society (and other research) says/shows that cigarette smoking causes cancer. BUT - you have to look at the method of delivery, too. When a person smokes a cigarette, it goes straight to their lungs & into their bloodstream. When a baby ingests something from mom's milk, it has already gone through mom's body & has been weakened (or maybe broken down/metabolized would be a better term), so the amount in bm is a lot less. And then we need to take into consideration how & if it is absorbed by baby through his/her gut/stomach. There are some medications that cannot be absorbed through the gut. There are also medications that can't get into breastmilk because the molocules are too large. The other ingredients (including the poisons) may have properties that makes it so they are not able to be absorbed through the gut or even get into mom's milk to begin with. Obviously, without doing more research, I can't comment on specific ingredients.

I have to say that I am with you in that I think it would be best for moms to quit smoking all together. It really is beyond me why someone would start smoking in the first place. And I do NOT think smoking around children is a good thing....like someone else said, I think it boarders on child abuse. BUT - if a child is going to be exposed to second hand smoke (which I think is more dangerous than anything that comes through mom's milk), I would rather that child get the protection of bm than be ff.

I'll have to get back to you on Dr. Hale & nicotine/smoking and the marijuana. I don't have my book here at work with me.

Michelle

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