I quit smoking while I was pregnant; but now that I’ve had my baby, I find I’m back to four or five cigarettes a day. Should I quit breastfeeding?
No! It’s true that if you smoke, nicotine and other garbage will end up in your milk and may cause health problems for your baby, such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. But the benefits of breastfeeding—higher IQ and reduced risk of ear infections, diarrhea and some childhood cancers, to name just a few—far outweigh the negative aspects of smoking while nursing.
Protect your baby to the greatest extent possible by not lighting up around her—ever. Also, do not smoke two hours before nursing, if possible. Above all, though, quit as soon as you can by using a support group or smoking-cessation products—whatever it takes. But do not stop breastfeeding.