Nursing mothers who live with two or more smokers are more likely to stop breastfeeding sooner than those who live in non-smoking households, suggests a new study published in Breastfeeding Medicine.
The study included 1,240 mother-infant pairs recruited from four large publicly funded hospitals in Hong Kong, of which 2.5 per cent were smokers, 29.2 per cent had partners who smoked, and 11.3 per cent had another smoker living in their home. Demographic data, maternal, paternal and household smoking habits, and other potential confounding variables were collected via self-reported questionnaires during the postnatal hospitalisation. Breastfeeding status after hospital discharge was assessed through telephone follow-up up to 12 months postpartum, or until participants were no longer breastfeeding.
The authors found that when compared with mothers in non-smoking households, those exposed to two or more family members who smoked had an approximately 30 per cent increased risk of breastfeeding cessation.
They said further research is needed to dissect the mechanisms of smoking on breastfeeding practices. “Practitioners can assess the smoking patterns of pregnant women and their family members to provide smoking cessation education and support this high-risk group,” the authors added.