Is it acceptable to smoke and drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

Patient

Q: I know a young lady who is breastfeeding. She maintains that her pediatric Dr. and The American Pediatric Association says it is al right to breastfeed and smoke cigarettes and consume alcohol.I breatfed 5 children and my Drs. said no way...not any...never while pg. or breastfeeding.

Doctor

A:   It is definitely not acceptable to smoke and drink alcohol during breastfeeding. If a mother smokes around her baby when breastfeeding, this may lead to long term lung damage in the baby. Even if she smoke in the absence of her child and later breastfeed, she is still introducing nicotine into the child's system through breast milk. Additionally, cigarette smoking may actually reduce the content of essential fats within the milk, alter the flavor and reduce the rate at which the baby gains weight, which is important for normal development. Similar to smoking, if a mother drinks alcohol, the alcohol can pass from the milk to the baby and may cause serious developmental side effects. Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with many health problems including a higher risk for some cancers like pancreatic and liver cancer. I hope this answers your question, take care.

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