More on BF & Smoking
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|Sun, 03-30-2003 - 9:01pm|
First - I have done some reading on the subject & I think it is better for a smoking mom to bf than to ff, especially if she is going to be smoking around the child. Of course I think it would be for the best if mom quit, but we know that some people either "can't" or won't for whatever reason. That's not the question here, though.
Second - I have read many sources & there are some I trust more than others. I know that many of you may disagree, but I trust the information I get from La Leche League. Regardless of whatever experiences (good or bad) you have had with your local LLL groups, LLL International's focus is on BF'ing and all things that relate to BF'ing. Since the focus of their research & info is on bf'ing, I trust that their info will be accurate with regards to how it relates to bf'ing than say the info put out by another group whose focus is NOT on bf'ing (the American Lung Association, for example). Yes, they are very pro BF'ing, but IMO that means they are even more devoted to getting accurate information regarding all things bf'ing related.
As for bf'ing & smoking. I think that smokers should bf. For a lot of those babies, it is MORE important that they are bf - especially those who are exposed to second hand smoke. Some interesting info...
*Nicotine is absorbed a little more slowly and less efficiently from the breastmilk. The infant also absorbs nicotine (along with tar and carbon monoxide and another 2000 or so by-products of cigarette smoke) readily from the air – passive smoking (second hand smoke).
*The levels in the baby’s bloodstream are greater from passive smoking than from ingesting nicotine only via breastmilk, but the effects are cumulative.
*Babies who are bottle-fed in a household where smoking occurs are more frequently hospitalised and have a higher incidence of respiratory and gastro-intestinal illness. Colic is much more common in this group too. Infants exposed to slip stream smoke also have a higher incidence of middle ear infections and compromised lung function and development. However, probably the most significant effect of cigarette smoking in the household is the greatly increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Breastfeeding will help to protect the infant against all of these increased risk factors.
You might also be interested to read the latest on BF & Smoking from the AAP's policy statement on the Transfer of Drugs & Other Chemicals Into Human Milk (2001):
"....One study reported that, among women who continue to smoke throughout breastfeeding, the incidence of acute respiratory illness is decreased among their infants, compared with infants of smoking mothers who are bottle fed.16 It may be that breastfeeding and smoking is less detrimental to the child than bottle feeding and smoking...."
And if you are interested, LLL FAQ on Smoking & Bf'ing: http://www.lalecheleague.org/FAQ/smoking.html
If you read the articles, they all talk about problems that heavy smokers may experience if they choose to bf. I'm still torn on whether I think that heavy smokers should bf....but, given that if mom is a heavy smoker, she is most likely smoking around baby, I think I lean towards bf'ing being better than not bf'ing for those babies. But, I think that the jury is still out on that one.
Obviously, it would be best if mom quit. Evenso, I think that bfing is better for a baby of a smoker than not - and in some cases, it may be even MORE important that a baby is bf if mom (or someone else in the family) smokes.
Edited 3/31/2003 9:34:30 AM ET by mamapalooza