Mothers who smoke and breastfeed.

Cindy - posted on 01/10/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I have a grandson who is just over 4 months old. His mother says she only breastfeeds him and sends a bottle of pumped milk along with him for his feeding. He throws up the milk each time I burp him and is awfully small still even tho he weighed 8# at birth and when I give my grandson a bottle of formula he takes it as tho he is starving and keeps it down. I breastfed both my sons for close to a year and my boys are good strong strapping young men. My concern is that the mother smokes ALOT!! I feel that if a mother chooses to smoke that is her addiction not the childs and the child should not be subjected to the mothers smoke in anyway shape or form. Nicotine is a drug and I am concerned that we now know that there are consequences for drinking excessively (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) but we don't know the effects of smoking on infants, other than low birth weight. I don't want my Grandson to pay for his mothers drug addiction, just because cigarettes are legal. Does anyone know of any studies or information from Doctors that addresses this injustice to infants?

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~Jennifer - posted on 01/11/2010

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Quoting Lisa:



Quoting Erin:




Quoting Lisa:

However bad second/third hand smoke and nicotine may be for baby- it is STILL BETTER for her to be breastfeeding her child. A child is at a greater health risk if he is formula fed and mom smokes.








not if he is throwing up everything and not gaining any weight.










But see you're jumping to conclusions.  Don't get me wrong- I hate smoking and it really bothers me when mothers smoke.   But you're assuming that it is the smoking that is causing the vomiting.






Bottle feeding can cause vomiting.  If she's bottle feeding and breastfeeding the baby may not be latching onto her breast adequately when she does nurse him at the breast.  This can cause poor weight gain.  There are plenty of issues here.






So- yes, she definitely SHOULD be working on stopping smoking, or at least minimizing it as much- and she should be working with an IBCLC, her health care provider, and La Leche League.  But stopping breastfeeding and switching to formula could definitely put her baby at more risk if she continues to smoke.





I'm not trying to jump to conclusions here either, but if she's smoking excessively (15 or more per day) it could result in nicotine poisining for her infant.  (the half life of nicotine in your body is 2 hours -- it takes 2 hours for the nicotine in your system from 1 cigarette to be reduced by half - and most smokers don't wait to have a cigarette every 2 hours.....not the ones I've seen / know, anyway...)



(excerpt):



Nicotine is an appetite suppressant and can alter the taste of breastmilk. Babies may express their distaste for the milk by fussing and struggling at the breast or even refusing the breast. If the mother smokes more than 15 cigarettes a day, infants can exhibit symptoms of nicotine poisoning. These symptoms may include vomiting after a feed, grey skin colour, loose stools, an increased heart rate and restlessness. Classically, the infant can be observed to wiggle and squirm, giving the appearance of trying to frantically ‘tread water’ and though they appear very tired they seem to find it hard to keep their eyes shut. Symptoms are slowly reversed when the mother decides to cut back or quit her previous smoking habit. However, infants may also suffer withdrawal symptoms such as sleep disturbances, headaches and irritability.



http://www.breastfeeding.asn.au/bfinfo/d...

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Abbie - posted on 01/11/2010

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Im really suprised she has breast milk. From my understanding, smoking greatly reduces the production of milk ( or should) Ok with that being said, there are many reasons for babies to throw up. How much are we talking? Very possible he has reflux, or it could be a simple thing his spine is off a bit and needs to be adjusted by a chiropractor.

If you feel this strongly about the smoking, can you talk to the Daddy? Is she really young? Try talking to her.

Minnie - posted on 01/11/2010

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Quoting Erin:



Quoting Lisa:

However bad second/third hand smoke and nicotine may be for baby- it is STILL BETTER for her to be breastfeeding her child. A child is at a greater health risk if he is formula fed and mom smokes.






not if he is throwing up everything and not gaining any weight.






But see you're jumping to conclusions.  Don't get me wrong- I hate smoking and it really bothers me when mothers smoke.   But you're assuming that it is the smoking that is causing the vomiting.



Bottle feeding can cause vomiting.  If she's bottle feeding and breastfeeding the baby may not be latching onto her breast adequately when she does nurse him at the breast.  This can cause poor weight gain.  There are plenty of issues here.



So- yes, she definitely SHOULD be working on stopping smoking, or at least minimizing it as much- and she should be working with an IBCLC, her health care provider, and La Leche League.  But stopping breastfeeding and switching to formula could definitely put her baby at more risk if she continues to smoke.

Erin - posted on 01/11/2010

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Quoting Lisa:

However bad second/third hand smoke and nicotine may be for baby- it is STILL BETTER for her to be breastfeeding her child. A child is at a greater health risk if he is formula fed and mom smokes.



not if he is throwing up everything and not gaining any weight.

Minnie - posted on 01/11/2010

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However bad second/third hand smoke and nicotine may be for baby- it is STILL BETTER for her to be breastfeeding her child. A child is at a greater health risk if he is formula fed and mom smokes.

Krista - posted on 01/11/2010

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I'm not going to get heavily into this debate, as I spent so much time on the "smoking while pregnant" thread. But, I would say to the mother that you're concerned at how much he's spitting up, and that when you did some research online, it said that one of the causes can be that the mother smokes, because everything that goes through the bloodstream also goes through the milk. Then just ask her if she's asked her doctor about the baby's weight and eating.

Is she taking him for regular checkups? If you know who her doctor is, it might be worthwhile making a quick phone call to him or her and just mentioning your concerns. The doctor will know how to be discreet, and will likely bring the topic up at the next visit, especially if the baby is not gaining weight the way he should.

Does she also smoke around the baby? If so, definitely mention that to the doctor as well.

[deleted account]

Whenever anyone does something that is wrong or something that they believe they have a right to do they get defensive. Who cares? Smoking while pregnant, smoking around children, ect ect is still wrong! Your daughter or daughter in law has an addiction. I would sit her down, and talk to her and explain the risks to her and her baby. I would not persecute her however stupid you may think her decisions are and I would offer to help her quit. If she does try and quit she will need a lot of support. My mom smoked with both me and my brother while she was pregnant, and smoked around us all throughout our childhood. I now have adult onset asthma which the doctor links to her smoking. I am now pregnant with my second baby, and I can't take my asthma medication because it could affect the baby. So when I have an attack me and my baby suffer. Thanks mom. I suffered sinus infections all day every day when I lived with her. I actually remember the doctor yelling at her in the office. It was the third time in a month I ad to be put on antibiotics to clear a sinus infection. I would gather all the facts I could before confronting her and try my best to be supportive even though to most of us it is common sense to stop a behavior that can hurt our children or take us away from them earlier than nature intended. You wouldn't believe how many smoker's don't know what's in cigarettes: copper, glue (thats supposed to help fire retard them) Not to mention that smoking has been linked to Sids. My husband went out on a call a couple of months back...he held the dead baby until the medics got there, momma is just smoking away....here is a link about breastfeeding while smoking.

http://parenting.ivillage.com/newborn/nb...,,40s2,00.html

C. - posted on 01/11/2010

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Wow, Carolee.. But Cindy, Carolee is telling the truth. This is a sore subject for a lot of moms and the moms that do this get so defensive. I agree with you that it's not healthy for the baby at all. There have been studies done that say that smoking around young children can make them more susceptible to developing asthma b/c their lungs are still so young. It harms adults lungs, what do adults that smoke around young children think it will do to the kids?? As for it being in the breastmilk.. Very true. Everything that goes into your body while you are breastfeeding, goes into your breastmilk. Have you tried talking to [I'm assuming] your daughter-in-law? If you think that will just be a waste of breath or that she will argue, then maybe trying to talk to your son? Surely he would want what's best for his baby, right? Try talking to one- if not both- of them. Your concern is genuine and it is a justified concern at that. Good luck to you!

Carolee - posted on 01/10/2010

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Seriously, you didn't look at any of the other recent posts about this? This is one of the subjects that causes people to get REALLY ugly at each other REALLY quickly! Honestly, you are going to hear from all sorts of people telling you all sorts of conflicting information. Make up your own mind on what to do. You can look up studies on pretty much anything and find info to both support it and info that says it's the worst thing in the world to do. And, really, it sounds like he has reflux!

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