There is a
relationship between smoking and SIDS
(Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome, also called cot or crib death). The risk
of SIDS is strikingly higher for babies who smoke passively - secondhand smoke.
guidelines are simple and clear:
Do not smoke
during pregnancy (not just mom but also partners and anyone living with them)
Never smoke or let anyone smoke near your baby
Never smoke or let anyone smoke in a room
where your baby stays
Any of these make your baby smoke passively
and increase SIDS risk significantly. As this article on the Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke states, "Secondhand smoke causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)".
Smoking during pregnancy and after birth also increases the risk for
a low birth weight (another risk factor for SIDS).
Baby will also be
more prone to colds and airway infections, have an increased chance to
develop asthma and other diseases.
Also, the risk of cot death when co-sleeping is further increased when
of the parents smoke - even if they do not smoke in bed. So if you do smoke, do not consider
co-sleeping at all.
Knowing you shouldn't smoke during pregnancy or around your baby is one
thing. To quit smoking is another, I know. Someone very close to me gave up smoking at a certain point and I know how hard it can be, regardless of how motivated you are.
As much as you want to take care of your baby's health, to get rid of
that cigarette can still be extremely hard.
Depending on your personal
situation, a pregnancy can be a difficult time and smoking may be one
of your ways to try and deal with that.
On the other hand, your baby's
health may be a good motivation to quit
smoking during pregnancy.
A few tips:
Remind yourself of your baby's health
constantly as a motivation
to quit smoking during pregnancy.
Ensure yourself of your partner's support,
forces to quit smoking together (both mother and father's smoking harms
baby during pregnancy and after birth).
To quit smoking is even harder if you have to do it alone. Ask your
local health service for advice and support, it can really work!
Visitor smoking and SIDS
Don't hesitate to ask
visitors not to smoke near your baby. This may be a bit
uncomfortable in some situations but it's worth the discomfort.
Anyone who respects and cares
about baby's life will naturally agree.
Some families put up fun slogans to remind their visitors, e.g. at the
baby shower which can work really well.
Otherwise, simply ask. For some, a subtle no-smoking sign
can work wonders too.
Avoid visiting smokey places with your baby, where you have no control
over whether one smokes or not.
Something else to think about: extended relatives or babysitters who smoke. Although this is a very sensitive subject and may not make you very popular, plan to arrange visits with such family members in other locations rather than in their smoke-filled homes to protect your little one. And hire babysitters who don't smoke.