If you or anyone in your family smokes, your baby will be a passive smoker. Passive smoking is bad for babies in several ways.
An infant exposed to passive smoking is at greater risk of SIDS/cot death, allergy-related diseases, diseases of the airways, ear infections and colic.
Make it a rule that smoking is strictly allowed only outdoors, and make this clear to family, friends and other visitors.
Passive smoking is harmful to children, and no family members should smoke
Talk to your doctor or midwife about getting help to quit smoking. This applies to everyone in the family. Smoking is addictive and quitting takes a lot of willpower, but most people succeed in the end. Many women stop smoking when they fall pregnant or when their children are young. A great many quit for good. Read the article below about how smoking affects babies as an incentive and help in your decision.
Arguments and facts to motivate you to stop smoking
• The risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or cot death, is two to three times higher if a baby is exposed to passive smoking. Your child's nursery or bedroom must be a smoke-free zone at all times.
• Studies show that in homes where the parents smoke, children are at increased risk of asthmatic bronchitis between the ages of 0 to 18 months, and that a third of them will eventually develop asthma.
• Nicotine goes into breast milk and is bad for baby.
• Children with at least one smoking parent are more susceptible to persistent infections.
• Children exposed to smoke are at greater risk of developing allergy-related diseases.
• Smoke can give babies stomach ache and colic.
• Children under four are more likely to suffer middle ear inflammation and are more susceptible to ear and throat infections.
Help to quit smoking
Most countries offer smoking cessation programmes. Talk to your midwife, health visitor or doctor if you can't quit on your own. Most pregnant women and parents of young children want to quit, and feel guilty not doing so. Talk about it, and encourage your partner to join you on a smoking cessation programme if you both smoke or are worried you might start smoking again. That way, you increase the chances of achieving permanent freedom from smoking.