Smoking - Breastfeeding or Formula

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Smoking - Breastfeeding or Formula
Thu, 11-03-2011 - 5:34pm

The board is slow, so I went back looking thru the archives today. One of the first posts was:

"Starting a new thread re:smoking and BF"

The previous CL - cl-sunny-side.up- had some strong thoughts on smoking, such as:

"Yes, those "militant" bf'ers like LLL are for breastfeeding no matter WHAT the risk. And yet, even THEY claim there is a risk......but one they are willing to make with YOUR child. THEY are taking that risk by encouraging breastfeeding while smoking. Not everything is worth the risk to breastfeed. Give me a break. I think it's pretty pathetic that such an organization would profoundly encourage such a practice. "

I know some feel that they can simply smoke away from their child, but I wonder if that makes enough difference?

My son and his girlfriend both smoke. But they never smoke inside their home, they always go outside. I went to babysit the other evening, and they did not smoke around me at any time.

But still I came home with my clothing and hair reeking of smoke. I am thinking about little ones, and their tiny lungs, breathing in that smoke?

Some experts say that it is better to BF if you must smoke, do you think it is enough?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Thu, 11-03-2011 - 8:39pm
I think it's pretty clear that the best choice is to quit smoking altogether during PG and not resume it once the baby is here. But not everyone has the willpower to pull that off it seems and thus if your going to take up smoking again postpartum then I think it's better to BF and smoke then to FF and smoke. If you look at the following facts supported by research you see that BF'ing while smoking is superior to FF'ing while smoking:
* The combination of smoking and formula appears to increase the risk o SIDS and other serious health risk. Even not smoking around your baby is not enough as second hand smoke exposure from your closing can have risks for your baby.
* While it's true that breastmilk can pass on nicotine and other harmful ingredients from smoking cigarettes, it also true that there are ingredients in BM that counteract the harmful effects of cigarette smoke thus making the babies exposure while BF'ing less harmful then exposure while FF'ing even though the latter is less direct (i.e. second-hand).

People who argue it can't possible be better for a smoker to BF then FF fail to recognize that fact that the health benefits of BM counteract the risks of smoking to the baby somewhat. If the nicotine and other bad ingredients where added directly to formula and feed to the baby then the critics argument would hold true since first-hand smoke is definitely worse the second-hand smoke but it not that simple. This argument ids sort of like how some people argue that if a BF'r does not wean to a completely healthy diet then that would annul the benefits of BM, another case of false logic. I can understand how on the surface these kinds of arguments seem to be logical but if you really study them it's pretty clear what they don't hold weight. It's just the explanation is not a simple one and I think too many people prefer simple explanations and so long as they make some logical sense they don't worry too much if they might be wrong.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Thu, 11-03-2011 - 9:26pm

I can understand how on the surface these kinds of arguments seem to be logical but if you really study them it's pretty clear what they don't hold weight.

That's worth repeating.

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Fri, 11-04-2011 - 9:11am

Babies that are exposed to cigarette smoke in the home are at increased risk of:

  • colic
  • respiratory infections
  • bronchitis
  • ear infections
  • asthma
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

For tips on how parents who smoke cigarettes can limit their baby’s exposure to second hand smoke: