Breastfeeding & cigarette smoke

There are many chemicals in tobacco that have been proven to cause cancer. No-one should smoke around pregnant women and babies.

Nicotine is what makes smoking so addictive. If you or your partner continue to smoke after your baby is born you will need to:

  • smoke outside
  • be aware that cigarette smoke gets on your clothes and is harmful for your baby to breathe in. Change your top layer of clothing after you smoke
  • wash your hands and face thoroughly after smoking and before you touch your baby
  • never smoke in the car, especially when children are present.

Breastfeeding and cigarette smoke

  • Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby; it is also good for your health.
  • It is better to breastfeed and smoke than not to breastfeed at all.
  • Nicotine passes rapidly into your breast milk and affects how much milk you have.
  • Nicotine in breast milk and passive smoking can give your baby chest infections, vomiting, diarrhoea and irritability.
  • Avoid smoking for half an hour before you breastfeed.
  • If you are using nicotine gum, breastfeed first then chew the gum after so there is less nicotine in your breast milk.

Cigarette smoke can make your newborn baby sick.

  • Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke.
  • Ask your friends and family to smoke outside.
  • Try not to breastfeed when you smell of cigarette smoke. 


The Women’s does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or use of such information or advice) which is provided on the Website or incorporated into it by reference. The Women’s provide this information on the understanding that all persons accessing it take responsibility for assessing its relevance and accuracy. Women are encouraged to discuss their health needs with a health practitioner. If you have concerns about your health, you should seek advice from your health care provider or if you require urgent care you should go to the nearest Emergency Dept.