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Bf and smoking...

(23 Posts)
Napdamnyou Thu 20-Oct-11 16:25:55

I am worrying about friend. She has 9 mo DD and told me last week she has been smoking since her daughter was 4 mo, after stopping during pregnancy and NB phase.

She says she smokes about 7 a day, always away from baby, usually when child naps, and cleans teeth and showers afterwards. She said she started because she is stressed and lonely ( moved house when DD was tiny, husband works long hours, has not got support network where she lives).

She is a lovely mum with her daughter and always cuddling her, playing with her, makes her nice food etc, and is still bf-ing. I don't think she has pnd. But she does seem stressed and exhausted ( her baby is crap sleeper, like mine)

AIBU to worry about the smoking and about my friend and her baby? Does anyone have any advice or experience? Does nicotine transfer to baby in milk?
I think she'd like to stop but is struggling and sleep deprived and although I don't smoke I sympathise with how hard it is to stop using crutches and make changes when exhausted.


Napdamnyou Thu 20-Oct-11 16:27:54

Cheers, even.

tiktok Thu 20-Oct-11 16:30:41

Yes, nicotine (and other nasties) do reach the milk, but she is doing a lot to reduce the other harmful effects (though she cannot be showering 7 times a day, surely?). She is prob best not to bed-share with her baby.

It is still better to smoke and bf, than to smoke and formula feed.

But obv even better not to smoke at all.

There are support services for would-be quitters everywhere - - maybe she could call them?

SquishyCinnamonSwirls Thu 20-Oct-11 16:33:54

How can she possibly shower after each and every cigarette?
I also don't get that if someone can stop for 9 months and then the first 4 months like you say when the babe is a new born, why on earth someone would start smoking again!
Maybe suggest she have a word with her HV?

Deflatedballoonbelly Thu 20-Oct-11 16:35:26

I would rather that than formula, but its not ideal. Is it?

Napdamnyou Thu 20-Oct-11 16:43:29

I stayed round hers for long weekend and every day she smoked 2 during morning nap, 2 during afternoon nap and three when her baby had gone down for the night, so I think that is her pattern. And yes, she then showered and brushed teeth.

She lives in France so no HV. I can kind of see why she restarted: she restarted when she moved house and left UK and all her support network. We were emailing and phoning then quite a bit and she was utterly exhausted. Her daughter was not settling at night and she was (still is) v v sleep deprived, noticeably so when I saw her, as in she looked haggard and pale and thin.

winnybella Thu 20-Oct-11 16:49:06

I really don't think you need to worry. While not ideal, it's very unlikely to have serious effect on the baby. I also think the last thing she needs at the moment is you making her guilty.

winnybella Thu 20-Oct-11 16:49:18

feel guilty

Napdamnyou Thu 20-Oct-11 16:54:23

I wonder if the nicotine etc is affecting her baby's ability to sleep? any research on it? (can't find any)
My 11 mo is still crap sleeper and I am non smoker, but trying to put myself in her shoes, if thought that smoking was contributing to non sleeping, that might be a strong motivator to stop?
We spent hours discussing trying to get babies to sleep better so I know it is something she would at least listen to?
She thinks she's not affecting her baby smoking and said specifically to me re. affecting her health that benefits to her mental health of enjoying her fag outweighed health risk to her long term. I didn't push it: she did seem noticeably relaxed after having her fag outside the back door!

Napdamnyou Thu 20-Oct-11 17:00:33

I don't want to hassle her or make her feel stressed or guilty.
I will try to stop worrying about them so much thank you tiktok for the info about it. It's good she s still bf- ing anyway, and I don't want to put her off... Want to be there for her, not judge.

RitaMorgan Thu 20-Oct-11 20:45:14

No one's a perfect parent, and a few cigarettes a day isn't the end of the world is it? I doubt she is doing the baby any harm at all, so don't hassle her about it.

SarahScot Thu 20-Oct-11 21:14:12

Napdamnyou, I think you're blowing things massively out of proportion, smoking 7 cigarretes a day, while not ideal, isn't going to do her baby any real harm - as far as I understand the research anyway.

Mampig Thu 20-Oct-11 23:48:02

I read that a smoker should bf for their own health and that as long as she is trying to minimise it and the affects, that bf+smoking is still better than ff+smoking. Its a hard one - bf isn't supposed to interrupt your whole life - but rather live life and bf. If I were you, I'd leave her alone - she prob feels guilty enough as it is.

AnxiousElephant Fri 21-Oct-11 00:00:16

Advice is that bf a baby outweighs the risk of second hand smoke on clothes and contributes to preventing so many illnesses and diseases in later life for example asthma, that smokers are encouraged to bf.
Providing she doesn't smoke around the baby and with the precautions she takes it is fine. She clearly is unlikely to smoke before a feed because at 9 months most babies are on mainly solids with fewer bf per day.
(I'm a HV btw)
There are quite a few smoking bfing mothers around. It is more important because the baby has its mothers antibodies to combat infections.
The amount of nicotine that transfers is quite negligable in comparison to the benefits for them both.
Congratulations to your friend on continuing to 9

AnxiousElephant Fri 21-Oct-11 00:05:03

Oh and actually giving up smoking postnatally, even after 9 months can result in PND if she is stressed already. This creates a far bigger health risk to both mother and baby.

Napdamnyou Fri 21-Oct-11 12:23:50

Thank you all. Am a lot less worried.

tiktok Fri 21-Oct-11 12:27:52

Elephant - I did not know that giving up smoking can result in PND in stressed women....have you got a reference for that? Would be interested to know more smile

hiss42 Fri 21-Oct-11 15:33:44

I totally agree with Mampig. I'm 21 and don't know many other young mums that breastfeed. The only way I've stayed at it is by being able to have the odd drink and smoking when we go out. My mum or MIL give give DS expressed milk and I express off any to make myself comfortable until about 12 hours after my last drink/ciggarette which is like 3pm.
100% better that she continues breastfeeding! I have to say never noticed his sleep affected by either!

AnxiousElephant Fri 21-Oct-11 23:16:15

Hi Tiktok, I have read it but haven't got an athens access since I left uni, I'd have to dig around at work. However, working on the Change Model for smoking cessation, given the lack of social support the ops friend has, the stressful life events i.e. moving away from her social support network, losing regular contact with colleagues, moving house etc she already has several risk factors for PND - impo it would be completely inappropriate to suggest giving up smoking at this stage (and it is highly unlikely to succeed) as it is likely to add to feelings of inadequacy/ guilt regarding motherhood. smile

AnxiousElephant Fri 21-Oct-11 23:23:41

There is a little bit about the challenges here

AnxiousElephant Fri 21-Oct-11 23:31:06

TBH Tiktok from how the ops friend is i.e. constant hand washing/ showers/ outside, she clearly knows the risks and doesn't like the fact she smokes, so it is her decision to take when she is ready to change her behaviour. No amount of finger wagging will encourage someone to stop if they aren't ready smile.

tiktok Fri 21-Oct-11 23:34:27

I think it would be common sense that a finger-wagging approach would not work, nor would it help to add criticism or pressure to an already stressed woman. Smoking cessation works best when the quitter is in a 'good place'.

But I would need to see a proper study to help me understand that actually giving up smoking risks PND......

AnxiousElephant Fri 21-Oct-11 23:40:31

I think from what I remember it was the dopamine levels in the brain and how they dropped and therefore led to the increased risk ???? Twas almost 9 months since I finished my post grad dip so sorry I am a bit vague smile.

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