Breast feeding and smoking is a hapless approach to baby care
The majority of breast feeding and smoking resources online and offline surprisingly encourage you to breast feed without caution while smoking. Breast feeding and smoking is a frightening approach to baby care. It is very important for you to verify information supplied online from all corners of the web before practical application.
Your baby just like you is subject to nicotine addiction and all the ill effects of smoking including second hand smoke and third hand smoke.Some resources erroneously further suggest that you should delay breast feeding. Smoking after some hours for nicotine to exit your system. Others yet encourage mothers to cut down on their smoking during breast feeding.
In actual fact nicotine has its "partner" in crime called cotinine. Cotinine is a metabolite of nicotine. Put simply your body converts nicotine to cotinine. Whereas nicotine itself in tobacco smoke truly exits your body in a matter of hours ahead of breast feeding; cotinine delays much further. As further down as to a week. It is a more reliable indicator of tobacco smoke exposure. This includes for second hand smoke and third hand smoke.
Breast feeding and smoking mothers have had their babies test positive to cotinine in the blood, urine and saliva. Essentially when smoking and breast feeding you are feeding your baby nicotine. Your breast milk will carry the taste of nicotine too. Addiction may follow swiftly.
Naturally your baby must get hooked to your natural body scent. This is how babies can identify their mothers and get bonded. Breast feeding and smoking disrupts this pattern of nature. It puts a wedge of cigarette smoke between you and your baby. Your baby bonds to the cigarette smoke in your clothes and hair instead of its mother's natural scent.
It would certainly not be surprising for your baby to mistake people who smoke the same brand of cigarette as yours as its mother. It is only natural. The prevalent scent on your body gets the trust and wins the day.
Breast feeding and smoking subjects your baby to the following
Addiction - just like adults who smoke, there are strong indications that your baby will over time get addicted to nicotine delivered through your breast milk.
Compromise of ability to learn or memorize -It's agreed yet controversial in some circles that nicotine has a role to play in stimulating cognitive performance. In actual fact breast feeding and smoking results in the destruction of brain cells in your baby. It also impedes the development of new ones compromising the ability of your baby to learn and memorize. The consequences become apparent as the baby progresses in life.
Reduced breast milk production - this is perhaps the most dreaded by nursing mothers. Breast feeding mothers have a hormone called prolactin. The act of an infant latching and suckling the mother's nipple triggers prolactin production. This fills the breast with milk to replenish outgoing stock. Nicotine in tobacco smoke targets this very hormone. It depletes it and the results are obvious. Excess demand from the baby as compared to supply.The baby is not satisfied.
Early weaning - breast feeding and smoking mothers have shown a tendency to wean their babies early. This is closely related to the point above. Some mothers wean due to a shortage of milk supply. Yet others discontinue due to the fear of the effects of continued breast feeding while smoking. The baby will however have to contend with the consequences of early or forced weaning.
Behavioral disorders - There is an established relationship between second hand smoke and third hand smoke and behavioral disorders including attention deficit or hyperactivity disorder also known as ADHD.It is one of the most prevalent mental disorders that occur in children. Symptoms include acting quickly without ever getting to think first. It can be treated and it must or else it causes long-term adverse effects into adolescence and adulthood.
Colic or excessive crying - excessively crying babies can become a frustration to mothers. In fact many new mothers are easily driven up the wall by it. In some well known cases it all ends up tragically with crimes being committed. In many mothers who smoke while breast feeding the cause might simply be in nicotine fed to the baby. It has been proved by research that 40% of infants breastfed by smoking moms suffered from colic and excessive crying. This was compared to only 26% in babies of non-smokers.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) - breast feeding and smoking exposes your baby to a higher risk of SIDS. This is also known as crib death were babies die suddenly without any explanation even whilst they sleep. SIDS kills over 2000 babies in the US alone every year and remains a major area of study.
Thyroid infections - nicotine ambushes iodine transfer to your baby through breast milk by lowering it. The result is an increased risk to thyroid infections.When working in the body iodine induces what is called apoptosis which is essentially programmed cell death. This process destroys cells that may cause an unwanted outcome to an organism i.e your baby. Examples are cancer cells and cells infected with viruses.
Can the dangers be minimized?
Breast feeding and smoking mothers have an important decision to make. While breast feeding is important for any infant, the dangers from a smoking mother are greater than the benefits. The theory that breast milk has chemical components that can successfully oppose the effects of nicotine has some truth. However, at the end of the day nicotine wins the day. Its simply much more powerful and "skillful".
The overall life long impact to the baby must take center stage. Some advice says reduce the number of cigarettes per day and so on. Still nicotine will get to the baby because essentially you remain smoking.
Others still recommend nicotine patches. Patches while helpful, they only solve yet but a fraction of the problem i.e second hand smoke and third hand smoke. However, nicotine will still get to the baby because the patches also contain nicotine.
An absolute no smoking while breastfeeding approach is a more sound proposition. Better still should be an opportunity to quit for good.
Quitting smoking is admittedly hard yet it can be done. Studies show that following a stop smoking program and using stop smoking aids doubles success rates in most people. If you are deciding on stopping smoking you will require adequate information as well as good tools to help you succeed. Whilst we understand that not all tools are meant for everyone we found this LifeSign QuitKey Smoking Cessation Computer handy. It works like a quit smoking program which alters your smoking routine easing you off cigarettes gradually. Please take your time to check if this is for you.
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