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Tobacco Use

Photo: Putting a cigarette out in an ashtray. Should mothers who smoke breastfeed?

Mothers who smoke are encouraged to quit, however, breast milk remains the recommended food for a baby even if the mother smokes. Although nicotine may be present in the milk of a mother who smokes, there are no reports of adverse effects on the infant due to breastfeeding. Secondary smoke is a separate concern regarding the child’s long-term health. The American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes pregnancy and lactation as two ideal times to promote smoking cessation, but does not indicate that mothers who smoke should not breastfeed.

For more information, see CDC’s Tobacco Information and Prevention Source (TIPS).