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Grandparents who smoke

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by Coolgiraffe, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Coolgiraffe

    Coolgiraffe Occasional commenter

    I'm getting myself a bit worked up about this and wondered what others do in the situation?
    I want my newborn baby who is due in a few weeks to have a good relationship with her grandparents but one of them smokes.
    It all got me thinking again at an antenatal class where the latest advice was that anyone who smoked had to keep away from baby for 20 minutes and wash their hands after smoking.
    The grandparent smokes about 4 - 10 per day and always smokes outside, I'm sure this grandparent will wash hands etc and never smoke around the baby but it worries me about the future. i know I won't be able to ever leave my child there for sleepovers / babysitting for fear of them coming into contact with the chemicals on skin / hair etc.
    Wondered what others do about this please?
    Maybe my hormones are creating too much worry :-(
  2. Personally I wouldnt stress unless they were smoking around the baby. My dad smokes and my father in law did (and more than my dad) when my first was a baby and it never occurred to me that it may be a problem at all.
  3. I have the same worry with my mum and am grateful for the ante-natal info as that's something I didnt know.
    Mum's smoking has always been a "she's an adult, we're adults" thing. We know she knows the risks etc, but it reared its ugly head last summer when I got married and insisted on my dress being stored at my sisters and that mum needed to be more aware of how the smoke gets into everything, even though she either smokes in one room or outside.
    My concern is doubled by the fact that I know she smokes in the same way (though will open windows/use extractor fan) when my nieces are there, however my husband has chronic asthma and its genetic, so highly likely our baby will have it. I want my mum and dad to have the same relationship that I had with their parents (frequent stop overs etc) but am not sure how to broach this difficult subject.
    Any thoughts for me too? Thanks xx
  4. For me the smoking in the house even in one room would be a problem. That is a lot worse in my opinion than strictly outside only. Can you talk about it with her? In terms of Asthma my hubby has it but my nearly three year old seems fine (and was ff) so fingers crossed your lo will be too.
  5. my husband and in laws smoke and i had childhood asthma. i was worried about this but my LO is fine.
    my friend and her partner don't smoke, no smokers in her family, no history of asthma and her 8 month old has had repeated chest infections and is now on a nebuliser and inhaler.
    air pollution from cars is, in my opinion, far worse and i used to hate pushing my LO by busy roads when i was walking into town. just as many chemicals in them!
    try not to worry about it.
  6. Ooooh! difficult one! I can understand completely (as an ex smoker who now detests it 1000%)
    if they don't smoke inside the house then that's a bit different - as long as they wash hands, get some chewing gum in etc, many smokers' homes don't smell of smoke. However, if they do smoke inside (and it is their house after all) then it's a bit different. If it is your own parent/s then you could say something to them (every one who smokes knows its bad for you and probably wishes they could give up - there is no argument to be had really). If it's in-laws, then get OH to speak to them.
    The only thing I would say, is to be sensitive-ish as at the end of the day, it's not a crime and they're not serial killers. Plus, you don't want to 'burn your bridges' as you'll probably need favours from them (be it an emergency, school stuff or a well deserved night out). You can't then turn round and say "oh, it's alright now".
    Could you make up an excuse that baby will only settle in own bed/house so if you need them to baby sit etc, they'd be best to come to you??
    (think yourself lucky- my mil was a closet drinker/alcoholic! No kidding!)
  7. This is a real nightmare for us. My Mum is a heavy smoker and lives more than 200miles away so when we see her we stay for the week. While we are there she goes outside to smoke, but at all other times she smokes in every room of the house.
    Within a night of arriving I am bunged up and struggle to sleep at night as I can't breathe properly (and I don't have asthma), the smoke is in every fabric, the curtains and especially the carpet. LO stinks of smoke from crawling on the carpet from the minute we arrive and when we get back to our home we realise everything we took with us absolutely stinks, even things I haven't taken out of the suitcase! Takes us a week to get everything through the washing machine and you can smell smoke in the room we leave the clothes in while waiting to be washed.
    Not much advice there, I'm sorry. Wouldn't say it was hormones though, I think it's a real concern that is very hard to address without the feeling of guilt on someone's part.
  8. My FIL is a very heavy smoker and smokes in their open plan living / dining area like a chimney! He also smokes in their bedroom upstairs and the smell seems to get everywhere, although as a non-smoker I know I notice it more! I was really concerned about it with my first, and hated the idea of taking him there. My husband smokes, but outside, and is fastidious about washing hands, taking off his coat etc to reduce the smokiness. I broached it with my MIL thinking she could approach FIL in the best way. She was very good and any time she came round would take off her coat and wash her hands before touching baby. She actually looks after LO twice a week when I;m working, but I refused to let him go to her house - I;d have rather paid a childminder as I hate smelling smoke off kids (you know the ones in school whose books even reek of cigs) so she comes to my house (means I have to be a bit tidier through the week but works out well). I have relaxed somewhat and said that if she wants to take LO to her house he has to go into the living room where FIL doesn;t smoke (initally FIL went nuts at this and threw a real wobbly with me, but hey ho, I stuck to my guns). It's a bit of a touchy subject with everyone, and I think they sometimes think I'm being unreasonable, but I feel quite strongly about it!

    My advice would be just bring it up casually in a "here's what I leanred at antenatal". If it's your in laws, maybe OH could broach it?
  9. Sorry coolgiraffe, just realised you were asking about sleepovers and stuff. As a PP said, it is often easier for them to come to you for babysitting (provided you have a spare room, we don't!) so that might help you out for the odd night here and there. As you say, they smoke outside, and will prob be on boartd with handwashing and stuff - - my husband has a coat by the back door that he wears outside when he's having a cig - sounds a bit strange, but it makes me feel a bit better that his normal clothes aren;t all smokey!
  10. I have not had this issue as OH and I, his family and mine (apart from my brother who lives abroad anyway) are all non smokers. Just to say that I know it's an emotive issue and people can be very touchy about it but I feel very strongly about smoking around / in a way that affects children (to me smoking in your house and wanting your grandchildren to stay is smoking around children) and would always make my view known, as tactfully as possible. But it would be non-flexible. The effects of smoke on the health of my children is too important to me to be able to leave it be.
  11. Coolgiraffe, if they don't smoke inside and are careful about the effects (hands etc) and especially as they won't be in contact with LO all the time I think it should be fine. If they smoked inside it'd be different but sounds like they'll be careful and will understand your worries.
  12. I see we're all up bright and early this morning!
    febreze everything and everyone lol , they might take the hint!
    The more I thought about this the more I'm inclined to say stick to your gut feeling. I was going to say to try it once and see how you felt when LO came home in morning but on the other hand, if he/she did get poorly you'd always feel guilty. Sorry, that's not really a solution is it? X
  13. Coolgiraffe

    Coolgiraffe Occasional commenter

    Thanks for all replies. It makes me feel lots better just knowing how many of you are worried about the same thing.
    I do think the grandparent (my mum) will comply with handwashing etc and I have made my feelings known in as tactful way as possible. Mum uses smoking as a means of coping with losing my dad to cancer last year and says at least it isn't a drinking problem or worse (as one of you pointed out) it's really upsetting for me that she's turned to smoking again after losing her own husband to cancer - I can't believe she doesn't understand how it makes me feel to know she is poisoning herself. She won't listen though, and she won't get help so I just have to live with it. I think it will make her think more deeply when she realises in the future that it affects how she can look after my baby. Maybe when i go back to work and my OH's grandparents can look after baby for a day or two per week and she can't (without going for a fag several times) she'll realise how the smoking stops her from having the same contact.
    I like the advice about having grandparents look after your child in your own home though - that helps the situation quite a lot.
    It doesn't help the situation these days though that most of us were brought up in a world where smoking during pregnancy and in front of your kids was perfectly ok. nowadays the midwives are telling us how dangerous it is and then it's up to us to preach to those closest to us - risking relationships just when you really need your family.
    Thank you so much for the advice - I don't feel so worried about it now. It's just that no one else in our family has ever had to tackle this subject as they are all non smokers apart from my own mum.
    Coolgiraffe xxxx
  14. Thanks from me too - definitely taking up the advice of "here's what I learnt at ante natal".
    Feel so much sometimes that Im being too serious/sensible/fussy about my pregnancy because things were done differently in the past, but then on the other hand Im criticsed because I want to work as late as possible, I love my job and want to return full time.
    Ho hum!
    Hugs T x
  15. If it's your mum, CG, is there any way you can have a bit of a heart to heart with her about it all? It's sad that she uses smoking as a coping mechanism for losing her husband, but it's sad for you to see her like this too and know that it'll affect how much she sees of her grandchild when you go back to work.
    Is this going to be a first grandchild? It might give her a bit of a lift, and it's a pretty great reason to stop smoking (although, tell that to my husband who is back to smoking after giving up at new year [​IMG])
  16. Coolgiraffe

    Coolgiraffe Occasional commenter

    I did have a big heart to heart with her last year when she told me she'd started up again and she always says the same - she can't help that she needs it to be able to cope otherwise she'd turn to something else. She's also likely to be more depressed and feel the need for medication which she doesn't want. To be honest in some ways you can't blame her cos my dad gave up smoking 17 years before he got cancer so she says if he'd have known it would end like that he'd have carried on enjoying smoking rather than struggling to be a non smoker for all those years to no avail.
    Her friends smoke too. So it's like a losing battle to try to talk to her about it - she sees it the same as most people would have a glass of wine. I did try to ask her to get help to stop smoking the opther day when I told her what the midwives advise but she said she didn't want to stop again as it doesn't make her feel better.
    I suppose she is a happier person as a smoker and I've tried my best but I can't change her mind. Like you say, we'll see how she feels one day when I have to say she can't look after her grandchild for a whole day because she'd need to go and smoke.
    i agree with what some others have warned about burning your bridges too, i would hate for this to stop my baby from having a lovely grandma.
  17. my husband smokes and looks after our son while i work. our son is always safe - he's always been strapped into his chair or put in his playpen during cigarette breaks.
  18. purpleapple

    purpleapple New commenter

    What a touchy subject. My husband smokes and when we collected our 'new' pram second hand he refused to push it with a cigarette in his hand as it looked and felt so awful, even without a child in it! Here's hoping that if he felt like that with an empty pram, he'll give up properly once the baby is actually here. Maybe your mum will be the same once she sees such a young child being exposed to smoke.
  19. My inlaws smoke. When our baby was tiny we stayed in a hotel rather than with them. The baby's health was way more important than their hurt feelings over this. They have to smoke outside now when we stay and wash/have mints after and we also take a mattress protector and our own bedding now he's bigger as we all share a bed there.

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