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SMOKING LINKED TO DECREASE IN NEW MOMS’ MILK

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Women who smoke cigarettes produce far less breast milk for their newborn children than nonsmoking women, Texas researchers have discovered. And the milk of women who smoke contains substantially less nutritious fat.

The new addition to the list of cigarette-caused health problems comes from scientists who studied 41 smoking and nonsmoking women last year at the Children's Nutrition Research Center in Houston.The study indicated that women who smoke produce almost as much milk as nonsmokers during the first two weeks after giving birth. But during the third and fourth weeks, their breast-milk production decreases by 43 percent, and at the end of six weeks the loss is 46 percent. Normally, women who breast-feed babies experience a rapid increase in milk production two to four weeks after giving birth.

The study also showed that the milk of smoking mothers contains 20 percent less fat that nonsmokers.

"Women who smoke cigarettes really need to understand that if they want to successfully breast-feed, they are stacking the cards against themselves by continuing to smoke," said Dr. Judy Hopkinson of Baylor College of Medicine, the research team's leader.

She also noted that newborns need a high-fat diet and that half of the calories in breast milk come from fat.