Breastfeeding Linked To Reduced Risk Of Smoking


According to new research, women who breastfed their infant for at least 90 days smoked less in the months following childbirth than women who breastfed for a short time or not at all.

The study, conducted by Educational Psychology and Quantitative Methods program, followed 168 women who were smokers prior to pregnancy from their first prenatal appointments through nine months after childbirth. The researchers studied breastfeeding, the use of other substances and if their partners were smoking in order to determine the possible predictors of changes in smoking habits.

Women who returned to smoking after pregnancy also returned to more than half of their preconception tobacco consumption levels, despite decreasing their consumption during pregnancy.

"Breastfeeding seems to be a protective factor against increases in smoking after childbirth, so interventions should educate women about breastfeeding to maximize effectiveness,” researchers wrote. “Supporting women through at least three months of breastfeeding may have long-term benefits in terms of smoking reduction."

Pregnant mothers who smoke can increase the risk of asthma, childhood obesity and sudden infant death syndrome in their children. Even resuming smoking habits after pregnancy can be dangerous. According to the study and others like it, smoking can decrease a mother’s production of milk and contaminate breast milk with harmful chemicals.

"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," researchers wrote.

In other related news, Medical News Today reported that breastfeeding is linked to higher intelligence, longer schooling and greater earnings as an adult.

Source: Medical News Today


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