Women who quit smoking during pregnancy may find themselves going back to the bad habit after giving birth. However, a new study suggests that breastfeeding may prevent this itch to light up a smoke.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York looked into smoking behaviors of pregnant women from the time they were pregnant to months after delivering the child. Although many of the mothers quit smoking during pregnancy, about two-thirds of them relapsed within 3 months after giving birth, while 90 percent of them were found to return to smoking within 6 months.
The study proponents believe that smoking should not be part of the mother’s lifestyle habits even after childbirth. “Increase in tobacco consumption after the birth of a child may have harmful effects on both the mother, and the infant who is at higher risk of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke,” said study co-author Shannon Shisler in a news release.
Upon assessment of data on maternal activities and smoking habits, the researchers found out that women who engaged in breastfeeding for a minimum of 90 days smoked significantly less frequently than those who did not breastfeed their children. “Breastfeeding seems to be a protective factor against increases in smoking after childbirth, so interventions should educate women about breastfeeding to maximize effectiveness. Supporting women through at least 3 months of breastfeeding may have long-term benefits in terms of smoking reduction,” Shisler added.