Smoking interferes with natural mothering. Lack of breastfeeding is a risk factor for SIDS. Mothers who smoke tend to either, not breastfeed or wean earlier and to have more breastfeeding problems. Perhaps smoking suppresses lactation by interfering with the milk-producing hormones. Also alarming is a finding that mothers who smoke have lower levels of prolactin , the hormone that regulates milk production and affects mothering behavior. Diminished maternal awareness of an infant’s needs has been implicated as a risk factor of SIDS, and a mother with less prolactin going through her may have less awareness of her infant, an especially worrisome situation when one considers that these infants are already compromised due to their exposure to smoke and nicotine.
At this writing at least five reputable scientific studies conclude that smoking around babies increases the risk of SIDS, and the more cigarettes the parents smoke the higher the risk.
Normally, mothers would never do anything to deliberately harm their babies, except when smoking addiction overrules. Your infant needs healthy lungs and healthy parents. You owe it to yourself and to your baby to stop smoking. Smoking and parenting don’t mix – without a risk.