Can You Vape While Breastfeeding – How Safe Are E-cigarettes During Pregnancy?


Let’s be honest. Many women continue to smoke even after they get pregnant. It is not good, but it is something that happens. Many, however, turn to something they consider less harmful, e-cigarettes. But how safe are they? Can you vape while breastfeeding? What can you do during pregnancy?

The question many women ask is whether e-cigarettes contain nicotine that can affect breast milk. And does vaping harm your baby? Well, let’s talk about it.

In a nutshell, vaping and using e-cigarettes will not affect your ability to breastfeed, but they will affect your breast milk. Nobody knows for sure if vaping can have a long-term effect on the health of your baby.

But we do know some studies show nicotine, which is absorbed by your baby through breast milk can affect sleep patterns. So, let’s discuss all aspects of smoking and vaping.

The Stress Of New Parenthood

This is one of the main reasons why new parents cannot easily give up on smoking. We love our babies. We all do. But there is no denying that new parenthood and a new family can have a serious impact on your behavior.

All those sleepless nights, baby crying, changing diapers, having no time for yourself, and everything else can have you stressed. Parents sometimes find solace and peace in smoking. This is why they cannot quit or cut down on their smoking during pregnancy and after childbirth.

What Is The Effect Of Tobacco And E-cigarettes On Infants?

No matter if it is chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, or anything else, they contain nicotine and some other harmful chemicals. Regardless of your feeding method, be it breastfeeding or infant formula, maternal smoking is a risk factor. And the worst scenario is sudden infant death syndrome or lower respiratory illness.

Let’s not forget about the risks of secondhand smoke for all exposed infants. Smoking can also decrease the maternal milk supply.

What are e-cigarettes and other vaping devices? They are battery-powered devices that typically deliver nicotine and other additives through an inhaled aerosol. But they do contain nicotine as well.


How Does Vaping Affect Breastfeeding?

We have to be honest, there is little research done on the topic of vaping and breastfeeding. But we do know this. E-cigarettes contain nicotine. Yes, it is a much lower nicotine dose than typical cigarettes.

But there is still there. And that is not the only potential problem. E-cigarettes also contain ingredients like glycerol, propylene glycol, and other additives.

While many of these additives are considered safe by the FDA for oral consumption, they have never been checked for inhalation purposes.

Chemicals in these flavorings can be toxic to our white blood cells. And that doesn’t sound nice, right?

Does Nicotine Get Into Breast Milk?

The simple answer here is YES, inhaled nicotine can enter a mother’s blood through her lungs. And from there, it easily passes into the breast milk.

There are studies that show that nicotine in breast milk can affect sleep patterns in infants. This will increase the risk of blood sugar and thyroid problems later in life. And as a result, children can become overweight. Not to mention, irregular sleep patterns lead to even more sleepless nights.

Nicotine also reduces the milk supply in a nursing mother. How? By lowering prolactin, a breast milk-stimulating hormone.

Can You Breastfeed Your Infant If You Use Tobacco?

So, we are now at the main question again. Can you vape while breastfeeding? Yes, a smoking mother who uses tobacco and e-cigarettes can still breastfeed their children. But they are encouraged to quit.

Despite everything though, breastfeeding still provides numerous health benefits for your baby. Breast milk remains the recommended food for an infant.

Yet, we have to say, that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recognize pregnancy and lactation as the ideal times to promote smoking cessation.

What can mothers do to reduce nicotine exposure in their infants? Well, for starters, they avoid smoking near their infant, smoke outside set smoke-free rules for the car and home, and change clothes after smoking and prior to handling their baby.

Should You Use E-cigarettes To Help You Quit Smoking?

This is another question expectant mothers ask. They ask whether they can use e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking.

But the answer is no. Whether it is e-cigarettes or JUUL, these will not help you. They are not approved by the FDA as a way to quit smoking. While they contain lower doses of nicotine, they are not safer.

Yes, tobacco companies might advertise these electronic cigarette products as a way to quit traditional smoking. But you should not be fooled by the marketing claims.

For pregnant women, there are other ways to quit smoking. For example, behavioral therapy such as counseling is the most likely way to be successful. Or, you can try nicotine replacement therapy. There are some approved by the FDA, including nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nasal spray, inhalers, and lozenges.

But you should always talk with a doctor or gynecologist before trying anything on your own.

What Is Nicotine Replacement Therapy?

The simple answer is a therapy that increases your chances of quitting smoking. If you get help from a local NHS stop-smoking service, your chances of quitting smoking are even higher.

Make sure to get licensed NRT products. They are safe to use while breastfeeding or during pregnancy. It is available free on prescription while you are pregnant and for 1 year after your baby is born.

Nicotine replacement therapy can come in different forms and shapes. You can try a nicotine patch, gum, lozenges, nasal spray, or an inhalator.

But we have to note that stop-smoking medicines like Champix and Zyban are not recommended during pregnancy. Avoid these cessation tablets.


Why Should You Consider Quitting Smoking?

We already answered the question can you vape while breastfeeding. But why should you consider quitting tobacco smoking entirely?

We have to be honest, research on the effects of vaping on fetuses and newborns has lagged behind the quick rise of these products.

But we can always go back to the studies done on nicotine in tobacco products. Here are some of the harmful risks of nicotine during pregnancy:

  • Miscarriage and complications during pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Abnormal lung function
  • Lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Abnormal brain development
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Sudden infant death syndrome

Final Verdict

Do not stop breastfeeding if you smoke. Even if you cannot stop smoking, you should not stop breastfeeding. Yes, there are risks, but breastfeeding is good for your baby. Those benefits outweigh any other risks.

If you cannot quit smoking entirely, make a plan to reduce your baby’s exposure to cigarette smoke and avoid passive smoking. Here are some ideas.

  • Do not smoke while you are feeding your baby
  • Do not vape or smoke near your baby, try to go and smoke outside
  • Make your home and vehicle a smoke-free zone to keep your baby away from secondhand smoke
  • After you smoke, make sure to change your clothes and wash your hands before you pick up your baby
  • Nurse your baby before vaping, not after vaping
  • Do not give up trying to quit tobacco smoking. It might take you several attempts, but you will eventually get there

I am a mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, writer, living in Virginia Beach. I love creativity, ideas, crafts, arts, photography, movies, food, coffee, naps, outdoors. I love to make stuff!