Women who breastfeed their children for at least 90 days smoke less in the months following childbirth than women who breastfeed for a shorter duration or who do not breastfeed at all. As per a study published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, it has been found that while women reduced the amount they smoked during their pregnancies, they relapsed to more than half their preconception smoking levels by the nine months after giving birth. Women who breastfed for at least the first three months after giving birth, however, were far less likely to pick up their smoking habits.
“Increase in tobacco consumption after the birth of a child may have harmful effects on both the mother and the infant, who is at higher risk of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke,” said Shannon Shisler, from the Research Institute on Addictions at the University at Buffalo, in a press release.
“Breastfeeding seems to be a protective factor against increases in smoking after childbirth, so interventions should educate women about breastfeeding to maximize effectiveness,” Shisler said. Supporting women through at least three months of breastfeeding may have long-term benefits in terms of smoking reduction.”