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Breastfeeding & Smoking
Despite my best efforts to avoid smoking, I have found that I've returned to smoking (2-5 cigarettes per day) now that I'm back at work. Does anyone know what the half-life of nicotine is? I have a 6 month old baby who I would like to continue breastfeeding, if possible. Thanks for your thoughts.
I really admire you bring this up because there are many folks who "break the rules" when pregnant and nursing, but are ashamed to admit it or seek advice. I was in your same boat and chose to continue nursing as a light smoker. My child has always been healthy and has developed ahead of schedule in most areas. Early pregnancy and post partum, I happened to take part in a UCSF research study on the impact of nicotine patches on pregnant women. To make a long story short, one of the conductors of the study told me that nicotine passes poorly in breastmilk, but does decrease the amount of production. The conclusion was that the risks of using a nicotine patch to aid in the cessation of smoking outweighs the drawbacks. Keep in mind that cigarettes can have tons of other carcinogenic chemicals, additives, and carbon dioxide (I happened to smoke a brand that claimed to be free of most of those agents). Another thing to consider is you will be nursing considerably less going forward because of your baby's increased reliability on solids.
Not sure how helpful this was, but I wish you the best luck in making the "right" decision for you and your baby.
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