Smoking and breastfeeding

Giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do to protect your own health, as well as the health of your family and those around you.

New mum and baby

If you are a new parent and are worried about smoking and breastfeeding, we can offer free, impartial advice to help you. Quit4Life offer a specialist quit smoking programme for pregnant women and new mums, as well as a smoke-free families initiative, to help you reduce the risks of second-hand smoke within your household.

Second-hand smoke causes breathing difficulties and other health problems for babies and young children, so giving up smoking is the best way to help protect them.

Keep calm and carry on breastfeeding

Currently, it is considered more beneficial to carry on breastfeeding your baby, even if you are a smoker. Whilst some of the chemicals from cigarettes will pass through to your breast milk, breastfeeding is still advised, as it will still help to protect your baby from infections and provide vital nutrients. However, if you or your partner smoke, you are potentially still putting children at risk.

New baby

You can reduce the risk by making your home smoke free – this means smoking outside, washing your hands and brushing your teeth after having a cigarette and ideally changing your clothes before picking up your baby.

By far the best thing you can do though is to give up smoking. Quit4Life are here to help and support you.

Breastfeeding and NRT

Nicotine from smoking and from Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), such as patches, is found in breast milk. However, the amount of nicotine from NRT that your baby may receive during breastfeeding is much smaller than if you smoked. It is also less harmful than the secondhand cigarette smoke they breathe in if you continue to smoke cigarettes.

Quit4Life can provide FREE NRT during pregnancy, and after your baby is born. We will also offer specialist support to help you quit.

Dad and new babyIf you are breastfeeding and giving up smoking, it’s safe to use licensed NRT products, such as gum, lozenges and inhalators, which Quit4Life can supply you with. By using NRT instead of smoking, your breastmilk will not contain the harmful chemicals found in a cigarette. It will also be much easier for you to stay quit.

The stop smoking medicines Champix and Zyban are not recommended for breastfeeding women.

Your Quit4Life Adviser can talk you through the best products to use, and will help advise you how to best use your NRT.

E-cigarettes and breastfeeding

E-cigarettes and vaping are a lot safer than smoking, but it isn’t completely risk-free. As well as nicotine, e-cigarette liquid and vapour can still contain some potentially harmful substances, although these are usually at much lower levels than in cigarette smoke.


Currently, there are no e-cigarettes licensed for use as medicines. Therefore, new mums are generally advised to use licensed NRT products for help with quitting smoking and staying smoke-free.

However, if you do choose to use an e-cigarette to help you quit tobacco, it’s still better to carry on breastfeeding as the benefits will outweigh any potential harm. If you choose to vape, it is still best to do this after a breastfeed, outside, and to brush your teeth afterwards to help protect your baby. Your Quit4Life Adviser can discuss this with you.

Can I just cut down?

Any amount of second-hand cigarette smoke can be extremely harmful for your baby. See La Leche for information on why just one or two cigarettes can be just as risky for both you and them. Speak to Quit4Life for support or impartial advice.


Taking a positive step towards quitting smoking will not only benefit you but everyone who lives in your household. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to smoke themselves, as well as being at risk of various health problems associated with inhaling second hand smoke.

Quit4Life are here to offer help and advice to Hampshire smokers, without judgement, no matter how much you smoke or what your situation is. If you’re ready to give up, we can help you. We can also advise anybody else in your household who wants to give up smoking, as it’s much better if the whole household is smoke-free – plus it’s easier to quit if you partner quits with you.

Good luck with your smoke-free journey!

Keep calm and carry on breastfeeding quit4life



Feeling inspired to start your smoke-free future?

Phone: 0845 602 4663 or 01252 335120



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