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Substance Use: Pregnancy, Smoking / Vaping

Smoking, Vaping, and Breastmilk

How smoking and vaping affect breastmilk

Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco products like cigarettes and vaping products like electronic cigarettes. Nicotine passes through breastmilk to the baby. Unlike nicotine replacement therapy (NRTs) like a patch or gum, tobacco and vaping products have other dangerous chemicals. Some of these chemicals can cause cancer.

Moms who smoke:

  • may make up to 250 mL less breastmilk every day
  • have babies that sleep less than babies whose moms don’t smoke

Quitting tobacco and vaping products is the best thing you can do for you and your family’s health. But if you use these products, you can still breastfeed your baby. The many benefits of breastfeeding are still greater than the risks related to nicotine in your breastmilk.

If you are cutting down or haven’t quit yet, the best time to smoke or vape is right after you breastfeed your baby. This leaves the most time before your next feeding so your baby doesn’t get as much nicotine from your breastmilk.

When your baby constantly breastfeeds for hours at a time (often in the evening and called cluster feeding), do your best to skip a cigarette or vaping. Never skip a feeding. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions or concerns about feeding your baby.

See Breastfeeding: Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drugs for more information.

Please note that “tobacco” on this page does not include tobacco that is used for traditional and sacred reasons.

Current as of: August 29, 2019

Author: Tobacco Reduction Program, Alberta Health Services