General Question

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Keeping my child away from 2nd hand smoke- how far is TOO far?

Asked by BBSDTfamily (6737 points ) August 7th, 2009

I’ve always found the smell of cigarette smokers very sickening. I’m due to have our first child in February, and feel very strongly about keeping my child away from cigarette smoke as much as possible.

My mother smokes in the house and has broken trust w/ her smoking habits in the past so that I do not trust her judgement or that she will respect my wishes (smoked in my car after she promised not to while borrowing it, lies to my father about smoking in the house, smoked through all of her pregnancies). Where I stand right now is not letting my child stay at my parent’s house for a day/weekend/etc. without me there to supervise things unless my mom quits smoking completely. This is especially unfair to my father who doesn’t smoke and also wants my mom to stop.

I don’t want to deprive my child of spending time with its grandparents, but I also feel that it’s my job as a mother to protect my child in the best way I know how. I just wonder if this will be a decision I live to regret or am proud of….

Also, has anyone done research on the effects of cigarette smokers handling infants? I once read an article claiming that even having the smell on your hands and clothes could lower an infant’s immune system, but I can’t find it now.

Please give me any advice/opinions you have because this is a tough decision for me to make!

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48 Answers

Jack79's avatar

As you said, your mum smoked through all her pregnancies (including yours) and you survived, so it’s not the end of the world if your kid spends a weekend at a smoker’s home. But yes, smoking is unhealthy, second hand smoking is unhealthy, and the effects on an infant are greater than those on an adult. This means that if your kid lives with them for 20 years and your mum smokes like a chimney, there’s a higher risk of cancer. But I wouldn’t worry about the odd weekend, especially if your mother just smokes occasionally (out of the mere fear of your reaction). The damage of not seeing your grandparents regularly is probably far greater to a child than your grandmother’s cigarettes.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Jack79 Not pointing fingers or assuming I know what happened, but smoking during a pregnancy can lead to miscarriage and she had 2 of them too….

But, I see your point about the effects of not being close to wonderful grandparents vs. a little smoking. I need to do more research on it!

ekans's avatar

I don’t know of any research on this issue, but I do have an anecdote.
I have a relative who is extrememly afraid of cigarette smoke. I don’t know if this is entirely because of his parents’ aversion to it, but I am confident that it played role. My relative’s aversion to cigarette smoke is to the point that, as a ten or eleven year-old, when we took a family trip to NYC, I had to constantly be holding his hand, because at the sight of anyone smoking, he would try to run away from them. Seeing as though we were in NYC, there were a lot of smokers, and it was a very big issue. In the past few years, his phobia has decreased slightly, but he is still visibly upset at the sight of anybody smoking, even if they are so far away that he couldn’t possibly be affected by their smoke. I know that he has some other issues that could be related to this, but I can’t see how a person could get that way without somebody imposing a strong dislike of smokers on him.

So, I guess my point is try not to overdo it, and keep in mind how impressionable young children are.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Just found this quote from pediatrics.about.com

“And infants who are exposed to a caregiver that smokes, or a mother that smoked while she was pregnant, are up to 4 times more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).”

And this one from www.babycenter.com that goes along with my last question:

“In fact, we found elevated levels of toxins in homes where smokers only lit up outside. Smokers spread contaminants wherever they go — they seep out of their clothes, skin, hair, and breath. For this reason, smokers should wear clean clothes (that they haven’t worn while smoking) around the baby, wash their hands and face often (especially after smoking), and not let the baby suck on their fingers”

YARNLADY's avatar

It is a known fact that even sitting in the same chair that a heavy smoker sits in has a risk of absorbing harmful substances through your skin. However, you could check with the child’s doctor to see what she recommends based on the overall health of the child.

Both my parents were heavy smokers beginning before I was born, and I do not know how it affected me and my siblings, if at all.

Buttonstc's avatar

Why is this being viewed as an either/or situatiion? I assume that your parents live close enough to have a relationship with their grandchild by visiting the child at your home rather than theirs, so why does everyone assume that keeping him from secondhand smoke would automatically deprive him of a relationship with them?

You have every right as this child’s parents to decide what he will be exposed to or not whether it be smoking, pornography, horror movies, sex offenders or anything else. What I find most disturbing is the fact that your Mother cannot be trusted in regards to her smoking as demonstrated by her past actions.

If it were my child, he would not be spending unsupervised time with his grandmother for several years until he is old enough to speak and let me know what happened in my absence. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and your Mother has demonstrated clearly that her need to smoke trumps everything and everybody else in her life. The absolute selfishness of some smokers is very similar to other addicts—nothing else matters to them.

N.B. I did say “some” for I have found that most smokers nowadays are pretty considerate of others in light of all the irrefutable medical evidence pointing to its’ dangers. I guess that’s why I find her behavior so inexcusable. Most smokers aren’t that untrustworthy, so she kind of sticks out like a sore thumb.

I don’t see how protecting your child could make you feel anything but proud. She can always come visit him at your house if she is willing to take her smoking outside.

If you are really reluctant to do this right off the bat, I suppose you could give her a chance to prove to you that she would be willing to put the needs of the infant above her own. I assume that you would be able to tell if his clothing and blankets smell of smoke when he returned. If that happens you could then put your foot down and there wouldn’t be a whole lot she could say to justify it.

If it were me, I probably wouldn’t be that diplomatic. My child would be more important. Period.

If she chooses to be in a snit about it and declare that she won’t be coming to your house to see the baby, well that’s on her and it’s her choice.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Buttonstc My parents live an hour and a half away and are the type of grandparents that will want to keep their first grandchild every chance they get. My husband’s parents are the same way, and neither of them smoke. If I consistently let our child stay with his parents and have to put my foot down on mine keeping him/her, it will turn into an issue quickly.

I appreciate your answer, very well said. I agree that it’s sad that my mother sticks out as a sore thumb. For example, my sister’s husband smokes but is extremely respectful of all ofther people, and so I would have no problem sending my child to their home. Even if I demanded that he wash his hands before holding my baby I know he would comply just out of respect.

rooeytoo's avatar

There are trillions of people who survived smoking first hand smoke, second hand smoke and probably much more diluted smoke.

Since I assume at some point in time your baby will leave the house without being entombed in a plastic bubble, it probably will encounter smoke in the air to one degree or another. Probably unless your house is completely air tight with a sophisticated filtering system, it might even inhale a bit in your house.

Allow your baby to know its grandmother is my suggestion.

Buttonstc's avatar

@BBSDTfamily Not to make light of the situation, but it gave me a chuckle when you wrote about your Mom creating an issue if the other set of in-laws are allowed but she isn’t. How many times have children presented the same skewed logic when denied something? “But you let———- (another sibling, usually older) do it, why can’t I ” Or the famous “Susie“s Mom lets her do it, so why won’t you let me?”

I’m sure it will raise an issue, but the answer to the question is, of course, “The other in-laws don’t smoke or lie to me about it. So, if you decide to quit smoking, be sure and let me know and we can discuss things further.”

Yes, it is a difficult situation and you really do need to decide before the baby arrives. If you are going to only permit visits at their house when he is older, the difficult discussion needs to take place sooner rather than later and discussed in as calm a manner as possible.

Just remember this——Your Mother (by her actions) is the one creating the problem here, not you.

Just one more question that pops into my head. Do you think it is feasible to try to get her to agree to smoke outside when the baby is with them and enlist your Dad’s help to keep her honest? I assume they don’t live at the North Pole or Alaska or something.

You mentioned that he has not been successful in getting her to stop, (no big surprise there) but is he rational enough to realize how damaging this is for the baby and have big enough nuts to aid in MODIFYING her behavior for the sake of the baby? In other words, can you count on him to enforce her agreement to do it outside and rat her out if she defies this?

If so, perhaps outside smoking thing could work; it wouldn’t be necessary ideal but maybe a compromise that everyone could live with.

cookieman's avatar

We had a very similar situation. My mother smokes two to three packs a day – smoking is very important to her.

We laid many ground rules which were begrudgingly followed. Regardless, we let my daughter stay over her grandparents house one time and let her spend the day with them on multiple occasions.

While my daughter did return home mildly smelling of smoke, there was no indication she was smoking directly in front of her, and we really wanted them to have a good relationship.

However, one day my daughter came home with red eyes, smelling like an ashtray. She said her grandmother was smoking in front of her all day (at home, in the car).

We asked my mother about this but she denied it, going so far as to call my daughter a liar. We let it go but after three more incidents, we confronted her on it.

I reiterated our wish for her to not smoke when she was with my daughter and suggested she attempt to quit now that she was a grandmother.

Her response was to tell us that we had no right to tell her what to do and she’d smoke wherever she damn well felt like it. She had no intention to quit and was sick of trying to please us by not smoking around our daughter.

That was the last time she was alone with her.

Judi's avatar

I wouldn’t leave my child for more than an hour or so with ANYONE in the first year. After that, the SIDS danger is dramatically reduced.
Your mom should know about the struggle you’re going through though. I know how hard it is to quit smoking, but protecting her from the burden it puts on others will not do her any favors either.

ubersiren's avatar

I was in a very similar situation. My mother smokes so heavily that after a visit, I have a sore throat, and my husband can barely breath because of allergies. We get headaches, and just feel crappy in general. Mom smoked through her pregnancies with my sister and me and also had a miscarriage. I was a very small baby. Growing up, I was always sick and had countless cases of bronchitis, pneumonia, strep throat.

The first time we stayed the night after our son was born, it was very similar to torture. I mean, it was like we were drowning in our sleep. Luckily, the baby didn’t seem to notice, other than coughing a bit. At one point, my mom was still up (she stays up past 1 a.m. every night) and smoking in her office directly below our bedroom. It was so horrendous that I decided to say something to her about it. Knowing that she’s very sensitive about it, I politely asked if she could smoke in another room at least until we fell asleep. Well, she screamed at me from the top of her lungs that it was her house and she could do what she wanted, if we didn’t like it we could leave.

It’s just the same as anyone with any addiction. There’s little you can do to stop them on your own. There’s hostility, there’s insanity, there’s desperation.

I’ve been trying my whole life to stop her which has resulted in some major fights. I’ve decided to give up because she obviously cares more about cigarettes (and other things, including herself) more than her family. We don’t stay over night anymore. We will stay in a hotel or a friend’s house when we’re in town.

If I were you, I’d avoid over night stays as long as possible, for the health and safety of you and the baby.

Bri_L's avatar

It is your job to act on behalf of your child in his or her best interest because they can’t. Not worry about anything else.

Maybe this will be the push your mom needs to quit. Tell here not only will she see her grandchild more because she stops smoking but because she will live longer too.

cookieman's avatar

@ubersiren: Your mom sounds so much like mine it’s scary.

ubersiren's avatar

@cprevite : That’s exactly what I thought when I read your description.

Response moderated
Bri_L's avatar

@obyn – Welcome to Fluther!!! Good reference.

obyn's avatar

wut, my answer was removed.
are the moderators lobbyists for marlboro? :P

DrasticDreamer's avatar

My best friend just had a baby five months ago. She doesn’t allow her baby to go anywhere that people smoke inside, and she won’t allow smokers to hold or get near the baby until they have properly washed their hands and changed their clothes. I’m a smoker and in my opinion, she’s doing the right thing. Risk of SIDS becomes much higher for a baby if they’re even around clothes that are worn by a smoker – even if that person smoked hours before. Now can you imagine how much more that jumps when a baby is in a poorly ventilated smoker’s home?

My best friend’s mother smokes, too. She has blatantly refused to follow my friend’s rules and even laughed at them outright. As a result, the baby has never been to her grandmother’s home and has very rarely even been held by her grandmother. I choose to follow my best friend’s rules – not only out of respect for her, but because I completely agree. If my friend is visiting, I refuse to hold the baby until I have changed my clothes, at the very least. Typically, I prefer to take a shower if I plan on holding the baby.

Regardless… It’s always better safe than sorry, in my opinion. Besides – if your mother has demonstrated that she won’t follow your rules regarding this specific issue, she’s most likely going to ignore your other rules, as well.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Regardless, right or wrong, you are the parent. Those who do not abide by a parents wishes for their child should be removed from contact with the child altogether. It will only get worse as the child grows older. No one has the right to disrespect a parents wishes for their own child.

If she lived out of state, she would have to make an effort to see the child.

If she smokes, she must make an effort to see the child.

In this context, this is her decision, not yours.

casheroo's avatar

To me, when it comes to something such as smoking…you can never go to far in protecting your child.
My brother is a heavy smoker, but he is not allowed to smoke in the house, and I he was not allowed to hold my son after he had smoked…unless he washed his hands and arms, and changed his clothes. He rarely held my son anyways. He knows my feelings on smoking, and he respects them..so I’m lucky in that aspect. I mean, I’ll call them cancer sticks to his face and then he’ll argue about not believing in second hand smoke and it’s all bullshit IMO. I’m just glad, even with our differences, that he does all he can not to smoke near my son.

I wouldn’t let my child stay at a house full of smoke, that seems irresponsible to me. If your mother wants to see the baby, she can come over in clean clothes to visit…and NOT smoke in your house.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

If they have to smoke, they’re not baby-sitting. Period. Since my second child, I’ve smoked a couple of times here and there when I could spend the night elsewhere, take a very thorough shower in the morning and change all clothes – I can find links for you if you want but I’ve read studies of second-hand smoking turning out to be a bigger problem than previously thought as cancer-inducing particles remain in roots of hair, under nails, etc…No one in my household smokes, neither do my parents, so I suppose I’m lucky in that…I live in NYC and there are a lot of smokers and I try to keep my children away from cigarette smoke…I have gotten into multiple fights with smokers who smoke right in the middle of the playground and have gotten them to leave…or I’ve left…I judge harshly parents that smoke into their children’s faces or when they’re with a stroller and smoking…

galileogirl's avatar

Before you go all heavy handed on Mom, think about this. Do you drive with your child on the freeway? Do you ever park the car in a public garage while your child is with you? Does your child ride the school bus, wait near the parking lot to be picked up or walk past idling cars?

Any of those instances are going to expose a child to as many (or more) carcinogens than going into a room or a car where your mother has smoked before,

You have every right to ask your mother not to smoke in the presence of you or your child. If she continues to then you say “Mom, we won;t come into a room full of smoke” But demanding that she not smoke outside your presence is way too controlling. If you don’t like the way her house smells, open a window or have her over to your house. While it is in the best interest of the child to have access to grandparents, there is no rule that it should be without parents present,, Could it be that you want a free babysitter and lay down rules for her while she helps you out?

As far as protecting your father from grandma’s smoking MYOB. Don’t be so critical of your mother, be loving and supportive instead of nagging. Remember if she is such a heavy smoker you will likely lose her too soon. Do you want your memories to be positive or angry?

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@galileogirl Nobody said cigarette smoke is the only danger in the world, but an infant is 4 times more likely die of SIDS when exposed to it. Just because there are other things out there that could harm my child is absolutely no excuse to not do my best to protect them. He/She may grow up and start smoking themselves when they’re a teenager, who knows. But I’ll do my best to protect my children while they are under my watch. That’s a mother’s job- using her best judgement to protect her child…. not using the excuse that there are other things out there that can hurt them so why bother! Could it be that I want a free babysitter you ask?? Well maybe it’s not normal, but mine and my husband’s parents want to get our child as much as they possibly can. I’m not normally critical of my mother, but when it comes to my newborn infant my loyalties do not lie with my mother any longer.

Bri_L's avatar

“There are trillions of people who survived smoking first hand smoke, second hand smoke and probably much more diluted smoke.

Since I assume at some point in time your baby will leave the house without being entombed in a plastic bubble, it probably will encounter smoke in the air to one degree or another. Probably unless your house is completely air tight with a sophisticated filtering system, it might even inhale a bit in your house.”

It is ridiculous to make these statements at all let alone in an effort to compare and explain why you should bring your child into that house. Ignore the sweeping generalized scientific wanna claim stats and lurve it got and listen to your heart and head.

Think of your child.

galileogirl's avatar

@BBSDTfamily That’s what I love about Fluther-how someone can read an answer that agrees with them 90% and then want to argue. I said:
1. You have every right to tell Mom she cannot smoke around you or your child.
2. You have no right to tell Mom she cannot smoke when you and your child are not there,
3. You may not get everything you want, to wit if Mom is going to smoke when she babysits, you might have to hire a sitter who doesn’t smoke.
4. Life is too short to get your panties in such a bunch. You will regret it if your relationship with your Mom is contentious because of this issue.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Bri_L I agree…. I thought that one was so far fetched I didnt’ even respond.

@galileogirl Did you not read earlier where I posted references to how having even a caretaker who smokes can increase the risk of SIDS? I am not telling my mom how to live her life, just laying my ground rules for what type of home/person my child can stay with unattended. My mom doesn’t live close enough to babysit as in I need her to watch the kids for a few hours, the only time she’d “babysit” is if she offered to keep her grandchild for the weekend (which is something I know she will want to do and also be jealous and angry that the other grandmother gets to do it if she doesn’t get to do it.). Did you read my initial question about my mom lying to and disrespecting others when it comes to her smoking? And I don’t even know what you mean about protecting the grandfather from grandmother’s smoking… all I said about that situation is that he lives with my mother and it’s not fair to him either (so one more person hurt by the situation) because he is not the one smoking, yet his grandchild will still not be allowed to stay with him anytime he wants. My parents (and my husband’s parents) will probably make effort to see their grandchild every weekend of it’s life.

galileogirl's avatar

@BBSDTfamily If the caretaker smokes WHILE they are taking care of the child. I said (3rd time) that if your Mom smokes while she babysits, hire someone who doesn’t. Just because your Mom.s clothes have a tobacco odor, that’s not second hand smoke. How hard a concept is that to grasp? Your Dad and his happiness are not your responsibility. Take a big girl pill and deal with your life and let your parents deal with theirs.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@galileogirl Where is this coming from?? No, it’s not just “WHILE” the caretaker takes care of the child! And I think it’s ridiculous that you say my dad and his happiness are not my responsibility…. I never said it was, just pointing out that one more person is being hurt by all of this besides me, my mom, and my child. I’m thinking you haven’t read the discussion above your posts, because you are either making up things or misunderstanding almost everything. A lot of your comments do not relate to the question I asked or statements I’ve made, so I’m confused as to why you keep saying I shouldn’t do things that I never said I was trying to do…

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@galileogirl I recommend actually reading up on what you are talking about before you make comments such as “Just because your Mom.s clothes have a tobacco odor… How hard a concept is that to grasp?” and you will know that your comments about it not affecting an infant unless she smokes around the baby are incorrect, and your added on “How hard a concept is that to grasp?” makes it even funnier.

galileogirl's avatar

I’ll say it one more time as clearly as I can and then you can go argue with yourself.

Just because your Mom is a smoker that doesn;t mean she presents a danger to your child UNLESS SHE SMOKES IN THE CHILD’S PRESENCE, Got it. If she only smokes when your child is miles away she is still a smoker but not exposing your child to second hand smoke. It is up to you to keep your child away from smoke. It is not up to you to make your Mom stop smoking.

As far as my knowlege of the subject, 40 years ago it was a rule in our family that nobody smokes around the kids. When we had family get togethers the smokers had to go outside to have a cigarette. Eventually all the smokers quit on their without nagging, whining or threats, This was years before you were even a gleam in your Daddy’s eye.

Hint 1: If you don’t want to engage someone, don’t keep asking them questions
Hint 2: All of the negatives of smoking were known decades before you were born and thorough research results in caution, not hysteria

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@galileogirl You’ve got the wrong facts… if my mom goes outside and smokes and comes back in and cares for the baby, yes it can hurt the child. If my child stays the night in a house she smokes in, but she doesn’t smoke in the same room as the child (or even smoke in the house at all while the child is there) yes toxins and carcinogens can still enter the child’s body…. it’s been proven several times.

galileogirl's avatar

Ok Precious, you’re right. Somehow I think you are always right. You are the expert on everything and all the knowledge in the world has been generated since you learned to read,

It is your right and responsibility to tell everyone you know how to live their lives due to your great wisdom and vast experience. At birth you knew more than your mother ever will and I am sure you raised yourself single handedly. In fact you are such a perfect parent that your child will never be exposed to any danger real or imagined.

Of course what goes around comes around, the way we treat our parents is how our children treat us. Prepare yourself for raising a little copy of yourself <:P

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@galileogirl If you stand by your claims, post the link to one reputable source that says being around smokers is nothing for the parent of an infant to worry about. I can post as many as you like that prove otherwise.

And now since you are continuing your rant about things you’re making up, I’ll put you in the category of @rooeytoo and decide that your posts on this topic deserve no further response because there is no logic to them.

Jack79's avatar

@BBSDTfamily your question did ask “how far is too far”. The last babysitter my daughter had smoked like a chimney. I expected her to smoke outside, or in a different room. Instead, she smoked in the same room where my daughter played and spent several hours of her day. I obviously changed her (though the main reason was different anyway).
I think that worrying about insignificant amounts of smoke that have stuck on your mum’s clothing as odour, or whether your child is going to suck on the grandmother’s finger is “too far”. Yes, there could in theory be some harm in that, but this reminds me of the myth that you shouldn’t hug AIDS patients because they might have an open would at the exact same point as your open wound and you could, in theory, contract the virus. I think there’s probably as much chance of getting cancer from spending a few hours with a smoker as there is to catch AIDS from hugging a patient. The evidence you quote always assumes that it’s the mother (main caretaker) who smokes, not a grandmother that sees the child once a week or so.

Then again it’s your kid, so it’s up to you to decide who sees it, and you don’t even have to explain your decision to anyone. But since you did ask for our opinion, mine is that you worry more than you should about all this, and there are more important things to focus on (like dropping her, or overdressing her, or overlooking the fact that her boyfriend is a junkie, or missing her graduation).

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@Jack79 I agree with you that the not hugging an AIDS patient is a ridiculous myth. But I posted just a few comments after the question that I was getting my info from reputable sites not just things I was making up myself. I responded to you that I was going to do some research on the matter, and then I did and that’s where I’m getting my information from.

I’m glad you say that as a mother I shouldn’t have to explain my decision; I agree and wish everyone else thought that way too! But at the same time, since my mother is the main person in this situation I feel I owe it to her to explain my position and have documented facts to show that I’m not on some secret mission to cause trouble but rather just trying to be the best mom I can.

I get your point about there being bigger things to worry about. But, just because I only brought up this one particular point in this one question please don’t think that it’s my biggest worry or the main thing I’m focused on. It’s just the main thing that’s been on my mind this week b/c I want to give my mom some heads up before the baby is born so that if she decides to try to quit smoking, it will be easier on her and because it’s something that could potentially hurt her feelings which isn’t my intention. I just asked about this topic b/c when I first asked the question I was unsure of where exactly I stood or really just if I was the only one who thought about taking these extra precautions. I mainly am concerned with the 1st year of life, when the risk of SIDS is present.

Jack79's avatar

@BBSDTfamily in your case I’d be more worried about the grandmother going out for a fag and leaving the baby unattended. Your baby is not born yet, and it’s normal to worry about all sorts of things. And you’ll worry a lot once it’s born. But as a parent all I can suggest (regardless of your line on smoking) is to take it easy, enjoy the moment, try and be there and give as much love as you can, and everything will work out just fine :)

rooeytoo's avatar

Maybe the plastic bubble that John Travolta used in that movie about the boy with no immune system is available.

You could keep the baby in that because the air is full of poisonous gases and diluted smoke. You can’t be too safe.

But I still think those trillions of us who survived must prove something. But I guess I could keel over any minute now.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@rooeytoo you know a lot of us did survive but you never know how much less cancer and the such our parent’s generation and our generation would face if we didn’t have those exposures…the argument you’re presenting is sort of vague, because plenty of ‘us’ didn’t survive and plenty did die of SIDS and lung-related issues and lead poisoning and water toxins…and you’re right, we can’t keep our children in a bubble but we can control, to an extent, how much they get exposed to things…after all, DNA mutation is cumulative and the less your DNA get exposed to carcinogens and toxins, the more likely you’re to withstand the poisons it has been exposed to…I don’t understand why this simple question has, as always, been turned into the ‘oh my, you’re a terrible parents, you can’t keep your child away from bad things forever’...way to welcome a soon to be first time parent into the club of parents being ridiculed for every little thing they do or don’t do by others who are irrelevant to the discussion

Response moderated
augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Please try to remain civil folks.

snowberry's avatar

As far as I’m concerned, no place is too far. If I had a family member who behaved like that, I’d say “NOPE. It’s not happening with my baby.” I’m sorry for your dad, but again, if it was me, I’d ask him to come visit me, without my mom, and stay as long as he liked. You might help his lungs too (grin)!

Her behavior indicates to me that she has lost all perspective. She is willing to lie and do whatever it takes to get what she wants. She appears to be completely unconscious of the effects of her behavior on others. This is not a safe person. Stay away!

snowberry's avatar

I have heard a number of mental health professionals say “You teach people how to treat you.” I have found this to be true.

Allowing your mother to treat you and/or your child like this tells her- it’s all right with you, you don’t really mean what you say, she can do what she likes, etc. If you don’t like her behavior, you’re going to have to put your foot down. And keep it down.

snowberry's avatar

Regarding people handling infants with the smell of cigarette smoke on their clothing, I used to have a friend who was a HEAVY smoker. She even stopped smoking while she was carrying her baby, and took it up again after she was born. She always made a big deal about not smoking around her new baby. Well I remember riding around in her car with the windows closed, and getting a sore throat from the residual smoke in the car upholstery, etc.

Answer, yes, it’s gonna affect the kid!

BBSDTfamily's avatar

@snowberry Very true… and been there, done that w/ the residual smoke thing. It’s so glaring and disgusting to many non-smokers.

SDSaunders05's avatar

I know this is being replied to sooooo late BUT I was wondering how everything turned out ? I am in a similar situation with my mother. I have 2 children already (6 yrs and 3 yrs and both girls). I have been doing research on SIDS fir 14 years. I lost a brother to SIDS when he was 2 months old, so SIDS has always been on my mind. I was paranoid when I had the girls and a bit more paranoid when I had my 2nd. SIDS normally happens in boys and in the 2nd child. Of course there are plenty of others as well…. currently I am pregnant with my 3rd and its a boy so I am terrified !!! My parents are heavy smokers…. when my 2nd was born I had my dad and his girlfriend wear a gown over their clothes while holding my daughter. My dad was not happy about it but he did it anyway. My mom was not in the picture then but is now and I know she is going to refuse to do anything I ask. I have a list of things I want done before a smoker can hold my son : Wash hands, face, brush teeth, change shirt (that I will provide so I know it doesnt smell like smoke) and if they have long hair they must pull it back or wear a hair net. I will provide face wash and tooth brushes and toothpaste aswell. I have no idea how to let them know the “rules” without hurting their feelings but I guess there really is no way around it. My sons health is more important than their hurt feelings. But with my mom its worse because she thinks that MY son is my baby brother….. that is just sick… she thinks she has some right to him or something and she does not. I am the mother and he is MY son !!!

I am sorry you had to deal with some pretty ignorant people on here. I asked about the same thing on “mampedia” and had soooo many rude people respond. I just dont understand how people can be so rude when a mother is just trying to protect their baby. Why should a newborn have to breathe in that crap when their lungs are pure and clean. To the people who say ” mothers smoked way back when and their babies turned out fine” are complete morons. My mom smoked with all 4 of her kids and guess what… 3 of us are alive and all have asthma and 1 died….. hmmmmm…... yes some are very lucky but some are not.

I would love to hear how things turned out for you and your mom !!!

snowberry's avatar

@SDSaunders05 There is a lot of misinformation out there regarding SIDS, and yes, it is true that second hand smoke can be a contributing factor, but so can cribs that emit toxic gasses. Here is one of many links on the subject. http://www.preventsids.org/2006/12/crib-mattresses-and-sids.html

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