Q. Is it fine to breastfeed baby three hours after smoking?

Answered by
Dr. Galen Harnden
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Feb 13, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am a breast-feeding woman. I used to be a smoker before I got pregnant. I am really stressed out. If I have one and wait three hours before feeding, will it be fine?



Welcome to

I would recommend trying to quit entirely. Cigarette exposure in infants increases the risk for several problems, including asthma, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), eczema, and many more. There are several options to help quit, including nicotine patches, gum, and even some medications. I would speak to your doctor about quitting. If you must smoke, try doing it before breastfeeding. It takes 90 minutes for half of the nicotine in your body to be eliminated, so it is very difficult to eliminate it entirely. Additionally, never smoke around your baby, always do it outside, wash your hands and change your clothes before returning to your baby. A good rule of thumb is that if you can smell the smoke, your baby is being exposed to it. That being said, the benefits of breastfeeding are immense and are generally thought to outweigh the risk of minor nicotine exposure in breast milk. So in summary, try to quit if you can, but if you cannot, take the above steps to minimize your baby's exposure. Please let me know if you have any more questions and have a nice day.

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