If you are a vape user who is planning to get pregnant or are pregnant, then it’s only natural to have queries regarding whether or not you should vape after delivery. Baby becomes the utmost priority of mothers and they wish to take informed decisions which will yield the best results for their newborns. Today we will shed some light on vaping and the effect it induces on breastmilk. We will start with what is vaping, and move on to different types of vaping devices before discussing the link between vaping and breastfeeding.
An electronic cigarette or vape is a device that heats a liquid containing marijuana or tobacco to create vapor that can be inhaled by the user. Vaping has evolved into a popular method of marijuana and tobacco consumption. However, modern vaping became mainstream in 2003 when Chinese inventor Hon Lik invented his e-cigarette. The market is filled with an array of vaping devices that come in an assortment of flavors ranging from fruity to minty. The variation of devices and flavors has added to its popularity.
How does it work?
The heating of a liquid produces an aerosol by-product by converting the liquid to a vapor which delivers marijuana or nicotine to the user through a mouthpiece. First, the vapor is inhaled into the lungs before being expelled through the nose or mouth. However, this liquid might contain drugs, nicotine, or other harmful chemicals. There is no liquid in the vaping device itself and a cartridge has to be inserted into the device to deliver the heated liquid. Users can add varying modification pieces which will allow producing bigger clouds on exhaling the vapor.
Varieties of vaping devices
Vaping devices can be broadly divided into four categories:
• The vape pens are cylindrical and come in different styles. You can expect better cloud production and battery power from the vape pens compared to Cig-A-Likes as they have larger dimensions.
• The Cig-A-Likes can commonly be seen at traditional gas stations where they are used as entry-level vaping devices. Their resemblance with cigarettes has led to this nomenclature.
• Mods can be either regulated or unregulated and are mostly used to create more clouds.
• Pod mods are low-wattage devices that are similar to Cig-A-Likes and can mimic the feel of smoking a real cigarette.
Relation between vaping & breastfeeding
A large number of ladies continue to smoke or vape postpartum or while lactating. There are conflicting views on whether a breastfeeding lady should vape. Most people hold the belief that a woman should quit completely as breastfeeding is a crucial part of infant development. It is imperative to note that vaping is a relatively new concept, there is scope for further studies in this field for producing updated results. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly discourages the use of e-cigarettes while breastfeeding as it might allow harmful chemicals to pass to the infant from the mother through breast milk. Nicotine moves readily into breast milk but it is believed that the advantages of breastfeeding outweigh the risks of nicotine exposure when compared to formula feeding your infant. However, it is recommended to avoid smoking around your infant. It is also advisable to change your clothing before caring for or breastfeeding your child as the smoke or vapor might linger on clothing causing second-hand exposure to the baby.
Vaping & milk supply
Nicotine crosses into breast milk from the mother and might get ingested and absorbed into the infant’s system. Various studies have been conducted on the impact on infants who ingested breast milk having nicotine content and the results included:
• Disturbed sleep of the infant as nicotine is a stimulant.
• Nicotine is an appetite suppressant causing reduction in the baby’s appetite.
• Interference with normal lung development.
• Might increase chances of SIDS.
Health risks of vaping
Vaping is considered safer than smoking cigarettes as it contains between one-third to half the nicotine found in a regular cigarette. Nonetheless, vaping comes with an array of other risks as the liquid alongside the vapor contains harmful substances like:
• Nickel, lead, tin, and other heavy metals.
• Cancer-causing chemicals.
• Volatile organic compounds that might irritate the nose, eyes, and throat. This can increase the chances of damage to the central nervous system, causing difficulty breathing and nausea.
• Diacetyl-containing flavorings which have been linked to lung disease.
• Ultra-fine particles that might be inhaled deep into the lungs and cannot be expelled.
Using no nicotine vapes while breastfeeding
Even the e-cigarettes that are advertised to be nicotine-free contain traces of nicotine. This is why it is advisable to be safe rather than sorry by refraining from vaping during the breastfeeding phase.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends against the use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and marijuana while breastfeeding. Research studies have shown that breastmilk contains THC for up to six days following the use of the chemical. It might tamper with normal brain development and even result in poor cognitive function and hyperactivity in infants.