Mothers' Smoking Associated With Breast-Feeding Practices

-- Eric Metcalf

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

TUESDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Mothers who smoke may be less likely to begin breast-feeding, and, if they do initiate it, they may be more likely to cease earlier than nonsmoking mothers, according to research published online Nov. 16 in Pediatrics.

Thomas M. Weiser, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,748 new mothers who completed surveys within a year after delivery. All gave birth in Missouri, which has a relatively low rate of breast-feeding initiation and high rate of smoking during pregnancy.

The researchers found that women who smoked during the postpartum period were less likely to begin breast-feeding than nonsmokers. At any point during follow-up, smokers and women who quit smoking during pregnancy were more likely to wean their infants than nonsmoking women. However, women gave similar reasons for not breast-feeding or ceasing the practice, regardless of smoking status.

"The findings from this study add to the growing evidence that postpartum smoking status is an important factor associated with the initiation of breast-feeding and the length of time that women continue to breast-feed. These results can assist maternal and child health programs to focus on the importance of assessing women's smoking status and making appropriate referrals for smoking cessation," the authors write.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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