Infants exposed to tobacco smoke in their environment have cotinine
(a nicotine metabolite) present in their urine.
Becker found that infants who were breastfed by mothers who smoked
had higher cotinine levels in their urine than breastfed infants
of non-smoking mothers with and without exposure to environmental
tobacco smoke. Nicotine is present in the breast milk of mothers who smoke.
The exposure to ingested tobacco products through breastfeeding
does not seem to increase the risk of respiratory problems that
is seen with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke
Women who smoke are less likely to initiate breastfeeding and have decreased milk production.
The latter is probably due to inhibition of prolactin or oxytocin.(
Both women who smoke while breastfeeding
and those who quit smoking during pregnancy may have a shortened duration of breastfeeding (
Women who smoke can and should breastfeed, but should be encouraged to quit smoking.