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Third Hand Smoke

(24 Posts)
lauracutee Thu 27-Jun-13 17:36:33

After reading about it online, I asked my midwife about the effects of third hand smoke.

She told me that smoke on hands and clothes can harm a baby and that any smokers coming into contact with baby should wash their hands and change their tops.

My DH and I don't smoke, neither do our close relatives, although we do know a few smokers who will want to meet and hold our baby.

What are your feelings about this?

Personally, I find the smell of stale smoke rank and I wouldn't want it wrapped around me while I was lying there all new and fresh!

How did others ask their family/friends to change their tops??

I'll do whatever it takes to keep my baby safe, but am interested to know what others did.

EMUZ Thu 27-Jun-13 17:47:29

Well I am a smoker. If I was coming to meet new baby I would either not smoke beforehand or I would bring a clean top and wash hands before. Wouldn't bother me, I wouldn't touch a new baby with smoky hands and clothes

MommyBird Thu 27-Jun-13 18:10:29

I hate smoking and im in the same position as you im afraid.
Unfortunatley my MIL smokes, she is stubborn and refused to stop smoking around our baby/washing hands etcetc (she's now 3) so our DD doesnt go to her house.
She comes to us now, she still smokes, everything she brings down for our DD stinks and so does she.
Im 35 weeks pregnant with our 2nd and im just like you, im worried sick of how we're going to tackle the issue this time. I hate that she hugs my DD and kisses her and she just smells of old smoke...and she'll be doing it with DD2 in a few weeks.
I think im just going to have a G+T before she comes down and ask her if she doesnt mind washing her hands!!
I'll be checking in on this post for tips! smile x

Thisisfreakingmeout Thu 27-Jun-13 19:01:17

I'm pg with my first and this is a concern with my mum. She will pop out for a cig then come in and exhale a giant lungful into the room. I know she doesn't realise but she is super touchy so I will also be looking for tips here.

syl1985 Thu 27-Jun-13 19:01:32

Be clear and firm. My mother doesn't smoke, but she's very unhygienic. She barely ever washes her hands after she went to the loo. Something that I find really dirty.

I tell her to wash her hands. And that's it.
Sometimes she reacted annoyed on me saying that I was overreacting and over protective and bla bla bla.

I didn't respond in an angry way. I just said to her that she's allowed to have her opinion. But this is my house and these are my children and these are my rules.

After you went to the loo you wash your hands. That's final.

For you it'd be. If you are a smoker before touching the baby you change your top and wash your hands.

I know the fear of getting into an argument. But it's your house and your children. You've your rules and it doesn't matter if they like it or not. But they got to respect your rules and that's it.

cravingcake Thu 27-Jun-13 19:29:30

You could make a 'rule' when smokers are about that everyone has to wash hands before cuddling/touching baby. That way if you dont feel brave enough to just tell the smokers no-one will be offended.

And have your house extra hot (works better in winter) so that makes it too unbearable for any visitor with a jumper, cardy, hoody, coat etc to leave on that they may have been wearing while smoking.

Most normal people would be courteous and think about it if they were visiting a newborn, in the same way i wont visit a newborn if i have a stinking cold as an example.

lauracutee Thu 27-Jun-13 20:02:20

Thanks for your responses. I think I will have to take a firm approach and use rules - you're right: My house, my baby, my rules.

I just know that there will be eye-rolling and comments about me being paranoid/OTT/even 'up myself'. I've already had this sort of thing when I've spoken about this issue to my mum.

But my baby's best interests come first and if that means that I have to offend people, then so be it.

Totally agree with those who have said that they'd automatically wash their hands before touching a baby or stay away if they had a cold, but unfortunately so many people don't think of this.

I think I'll say something like 'My midwife told me...' (and blame her!)

knittingirl Fri 28-Jun-13 09:59:57

Blame your midwife, and say that there is new research showing that it is harmful, but above all be firm.

"Have you washed your hands? Can you do so before holding baby." Repeat as necessary. And then don't hand over your baby to them until they have - no one has a right to hold your baby!

StillPukin Fri 28-Jun-13 10:03:58

Just information; I've been told that the smoke residue left on clothes are at a toxic level for an hour after the cigarette has been smoked.

Most people in my world are non-smokers so this wasnt too much of an issue but my Dad smokes and so he was told to make the decision, either have a cigarette or hold his child, he can not have both, sadly he often chose the cigarette.

Stick to your guns OP, your child's health is more important than enybody elses feelings x

froubylou Fri 28-Jun-13 10:13:19

I'm currently 15 weeks pg. And have stopped smoking.

My mum, sisters and best friend smoke. They have all been told as I am a sanctimonious ex smoker that anyone stinking of fags will not be allowed to hold my baby.

Be firm but polite about it. Make it clear now what the rules will be. Clean, non smokey clothes, clean hands and clean breath. As an ex smoker I can smell a smoker a mile away lol, including DP who has taken to smoking in secret and thinks I don't know. I do and he has been told.

And at the end of the day it may come better from your DH. Get him to call friends/family and say 'Laura has fallen out with X (made up cousin or something) because they wanted to hold baby smelling of smoke. She said no, so I'm just warning you if you come and smell smokey you won't get cuddles.'

Its your baby and your rules I'm afraid, no matter how offended people get.

MrsMummyP Fri 28-Jun-13 10:21:58

The midwife said.......blame the midwife or HV. Say they were really clear about it with you. Say it whilst smiling and then say so 'you wash your hands/change your top and I'll/DP can make the tea while I get baby out of the moses basket.' Or get DP to say the same thing.

great thread as i was also wondering what to do about this issue!

my sister and father in law both smoke and the idea of them being anywhere near my baby when he arrives is awful. i really wasnt sure what to do about it but the post about the smoke remaining at toxic levels in clothes is a great one!

i'd always wash my hands before going anywhere near anybodys baby plus if i even thought i had a cold or anything else i wouldnt go. i didnt even go to my friends baby shower as i had an awful chest infection and cold!

meant to ask - what do people do about taking their baby into work?! i dont want him out of the pram and passed around like a parcel

knittingirl Fri 28-Jun-13 10:42:59

Fairydogmother - don't get him out of the pram. When my colleague brought her new baby in last year, she brought him in in his car seat and he was asleep, and everyone just went over to coo over him but she made no move to get him out or let anyone hold him.

i'll def do that! sounds horrible but i dont mind certain people holding him but not everybody smile

Pocket1 Fri 28-Jun-13 11:52:04

Really great thread and so helpful. I'm 39 weeks today and have been worrying about handing the baby round to everyone and anyone, particularly smokers. There are some great tips here. Thanks! smile

Teaandflapjacks Fri 28-Jun-13 12:59:34

I have the same issue - I live in Germany now and smoking seems to be much higher here. Anyway, I have been going on about third hand smoke and the dangers of SIDS from the start of the pregnancy (in fact it encouraged by BF partner here to quit recently when their child was born!). I have told everyone up front based on the SIDS issue, and asthma etc, that no-one is allowed a cuddle or a touch if they have been smoking 3-4 hours up front. Thats it - end of. My BIL is a heavy smoker, and my DH (who is quitting by the time the baby comes) has never smoked around his partners kids, based on what I have said - and my BIL is always baffled by this, but DH makes a point and says not around children. This has sent the message that we wont tolerate it around our little one too. TBH i don't care if we offend him, or anyone else, or child, our rules.

I DO have a back up plan - we have wash hands rule and we will keep a blanket to drape over smoker - just saying its for baby sick etc and a quick 5 min hold.

On a separate note, I do think though that it is prolonged exposure to third hand smoke that causes the problem - from a primary care giver. But that is hardly the point - I don't want my child breathing in crap from people. And yes, I am an ex smoker too! grin

MommyBird Fri 28-Jun-13 14:54:52

Taken lots of advice and im all for blaming the HV!

Gonnabmummy Fri 28-Jun-13 19:27:32

As others have said your baby your rules I plan on strongly imposing this as I hate smelling smoke, dads partner I imagine will be most stubborn about it however I know she wouldn't say anything about it to me. So I intend on showing my dad some info and just saying if baby comes home smelling of smoke he won't be getting left there. Dad has never smoked so he will be fine about it smile

MommyBird Fri 28-Jun-13 21:32:38

We used to take our DD to to MILs and let her watch her whilst we did some food shopping..she was about 3/4 months..she used to stink of smoke..long story short we found out she'd been smoking whilst looking after her..she refused to stop smoking around her and told us 'not to bother bringing her up to the house'...so we didn't..then had the nerve to ring my OH a week later saying its made her ill cause she thought we wouldnt let her see her GC..

So now DD is 3, she comes to our house once a week to see her. shes missed out on babysitting/sleepovers etcetc and its her fault.

However. She still smokes and still smells of it.
She knows how strongly i feel about smoke..2nd/3rd hand, whatever, so im hoping she will know whats coming when DD2 is born.
Might have OH tell her (when DD2 is born) to make sure she has a ciggie and clean up before she pops down or when she gets here as HV have told us some new research about 3rd hand smoke and its worried us. how can she argue with that?

Im glad that this is the only smoker in both of our families! X

lauracutee Sat 29-Jun-13 11:21:33

Thanks for all of the replies, they've been really helpful.

I honestly expected a lot of 'You're being a bit OTT' etc so it's great to know that I'm being perfectly reasonable and it's given me a lot more confidence to put my foot down about it.

It's shocking that some people actually choose having a fag and not washing their hands over visiting/cuddling a new baby relative.

My hubby has basically said 'If they don't like our rules they can eff off out of our house and not come back.' I'll try a gentler approach but the point will be the same!

Gingerbreadpixie Sat 29-Jun-13 12:37:17

I'm in the same position. All of my family and half my in-laws smoke!

I'm an ex smoker myself and DH has a few a month (I send him straight into the shower afterwards!)

My family will be fine about me asking them to wash hands before holding baby when they're here at our house. But Im expecting some serious resistance to getting them to change their tops before holding. I'll get eye-rolling and "now you're being ridiculous" etc. I think I'm just going to pop to primark, buy a pack of cheap basic tee shirts and just thrust one at them if they want to hold bubba. I'll have to be firm, especially with DB. :/

My mum only smokes in her own bedroom at home, never the living room, kitchen etc, and always has the window open so I don't feel anxious about taking baby round to hers if she keeps her door shut.

It's a minefield with the in laws though!!!

lauracutee Sat 29-Jun-13 12:44:33

That's a great idea about some cheap t-shirts!

I know exactly who will do the eye-rolling and say that we're being overprotective but my baby comes before them!!!!

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sat 29-Jun-13 16:50:17

My partner gave up smoking when I got pregnant which I was very relieved about precisely because of this issue. Smoke does cling and linger, I was all for making him shower/change/wash hands/brush teeth before holding the baby if he carried on smoking. I think it could be potentially as damaging as second hand smoke to a tiny baby.

I'm not sure how I will deal with my sibling, his partner and my BIL who do smoke. I know I will not want them near my baby and am fully prepared for eye rolling. But I don't think it's acceptable.

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