Breastfeeding & Drugs: Smoking (Nicotine)

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Breastfeeding and Drugs Topics
Table of Contents
Pre module evaluation
Prescription and Over the Counter Medications
Case Study 28
Case Study 29
Pain Medications
Illicit Drugs
Post module evaluation

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 ( Memorize Becker, 1999 ).

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.( Memorize Howard, 1999 ). Both women who smoke while breastfeeding and those who quit smoking during pregnancy may have a shortened duration of breastfeeding ( Memorize Weiser, 2009 ).

Women who smoke can and should breastfeed, but should be encouraged to quit smoking.

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