Smoking and Breastfeeding: Can the Two Co-Exist?

Smoking + Breastfeeding | | Kimberly Kalil Creative Interested in learning if breast feeding and smoking can coexist? If you're a smoker and you want to breastfeed your baby check out my latest article over at,


Are you a new mom considering breastfeeding but wondering about whether it's safe to mix smoking and nursing your child? If so, you may be relieved to know that "smoking and breastfeeding are compatible," according to Colette M. Acker, a lactation consultant and founder of The Breastfeeding Resource Center. "It's better for a baby for a mom to smoke and breastfeed than to smoke and not breastfeed," she says. The benefits a breastfed baby get from their mother's milk help protect them from the toxins in the air from cigarette smoke they're exposed to.

"Breast milk will help them fight infections," Acker explains.

Although nicotine may be present in breast milk, adverse effects on the infant during breastfeeding have not been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also notes that "maternal smoking is not an absolute contraindication to breastfeeding," but it should be strongly discouraged because it is associated with respiratory allergies in babies, as well as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). According to the American Cancer Society, infants do absorb nicotine through breast milk, as well as through the air they breathe. However, breastfeeding is thought to be healthier than bottle-feeding, even when the mother smokes.