Preemies

Preemies and Smokers

I am currently pregnant with twins and will deliver at 32 weeks (in just 10 days) due to pprom and a water break. Obviously we will have 2 preemies on our hands. We asked our NICU about visitor stipulations and they said there are none (besides age) and that anyone can visit but to keep it quite limited. This has already been a hot topic! But my dad is a heavy smoker inside his house. He always reeks and as soon as you step foot in the house, everything smells like smoke. I absolutely hate it! I had a conversation with him once about not staying there while pregnant and that I probably wouldn't once the babies came either. But now with having preemies who could have lung issues, how precautious do I need to be? I have found some things online but nothing concrete. It isn't like this is a distant relative I can keep away... it's my dad!
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Re: Preemies and Smokers

  • Congrats on your incoming twins and sorry it is happening this way!

    As far as smokers go, the NICU told us it was a pretty big deal. We have a preemie with chronic lung disease who is still on oxygen at 5mos old so we have that against us too. The risk of SIDS goes up as well.

    I'm not sure how to broach the subject with your dad or even what to do, but I can't imagine it's easy. Could you ask him to wear clean clothes around the babies?
  • Usm123Usm123
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    My dad and grandmother are heavy smokers in their homes. I have told them we can't visit them there. They come to us and wash hands and change shirts. I just told them once I realized how severe DS's lung issues would be. I just said he can't be in the house.

    I would wait until the babies are born and say the neo's say.... Whatever you are comfortable with. Honestly, I wouldn't bring it up too soon if I thought it would cause a fight. People are a lot more receptive when there are cute babies fighting for their lives than a pregnant lady listing off do's and don't, atleast in my house.
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  • KTZ17KTZ17
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    In terms of visiting the NICU it's not likely that he'll be allowed to hold them so I don't think that's a big concern. In our NICU only my husband and I could hold DD. The nurses said our chosen 4 family members could only hold her when we were there and only if it was okay with us. Your dad doesn't even have to touch them unless you say it's okay. But once they go home it's probably not a good idea for them to go to his house and he shouldn't smoke before holding them. My mom is a smoker and stopped smoking in her house and my parents have expensive air purifiers. I know she smoked around us when we were kids but she doesn't smoke around DD our my nephew. Your dad will need to understand that your infants shouldn't be around smoke, especially since they're preemies. By the way, I read your blog and I feel like I know you! I'm really hoping you make it to at least 32 weeks!

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  • He shouldn't hold them or visit the nicu its not only your children that have to breath the 3rd hand smoke. If a smoker had come to my room while there I would have asked to have them removed. Also I would make him completely strip in the garage if he comes to visits and wash up.
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  • Smoking is a huge concern for preemies. Second hand and third hand. Third hand meaning clothes, peoples hair, items in thier home. Smoke just sticks to it. I've always been on a pedestal about smoking and how horrible it is and now that we have a preemie I am 10x worse. I put a blanket between my LO and any one who smoke if they want to hold her. And I ask for them not to breathe/talk directly into her face. RSV is a huge concern for preemies and smoking is a main factor. Even if it's not you or in your house. Certainly have them visit but make sure he washed up to his elbows and if he does hold your LOs seperate him and then with a blanket as well and then take the blanket home to wash. The NICU should have handouts on smoking and preemies. If not I can email you a copy of what we were given and you can disperse as needed. I did and it helped, Because it wasn't me being neurotic it was actual published facts.

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  • PurpleIris30PurpleIris30
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    edited January 3
    It was an "absolutely do not let your babies even be around smokers" rule at our NICU. Our smallest went home on oxygen, so I don't know if they tell that to everyone, but it would be a 100% no go for us, immediate family or not.

    Edit: this rule was whether or not they had just been smoking, changed clothes, etc.
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  • What pps have said. There is no such thing as being too cautious with preemie lungs. I understand that not having direct access to his grandkids might be hurtful, but the babies need their lungs protected and I think with a lot of preemie moms there is a comfort in knowing that you took every possible precaution so that there isn't additional blame and anger if a baby does get sick at some point in the first year. My in-laws don't get a lot of the precautions we insist on, they get angry, they try to be emotionally manipulative, they say we're overreacting and making excuses. We say, "Sorry you feel that way, but this is what our babies need and their health is more important than your hurt feelings." 
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  • I would not let him come visit at the NICU if he's a heavy smoker.  It really sucks, but not only could he risk passing secondhand/third hand smoke to your preemies, but he puts all of the other preemies at risk, and for those who are micros and/or are having respiratory issues (either from prematurity or something else), that would be bad news.  It's just not worth the risk, IMHO.
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  • PPs nailed it -- you absolutely cannot be too cautious. ESPECIALLY with them being this small, during RSV season, and everything. 

    I HATED when the obvious smokers came into the NICU. It made me FURIOUS. They made them wear these absurdly thick plastic smocks, and even the nurses were angry about them being there (in that case - they were the parents, so there wasn't any way to keep them away. :(
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  • Our NICU at least is setup in individual rooms and not all open so it would to keep others away from it. I really really appreciate all the tips and advice!! Thank you very much!!!!!
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  • My FIL smokes cigars and my mom's husband is a smoker. They've both visited our house but were told beforehand that they had to shower and have clean and smoke free clothes on if they want to be near our LO. I've also already told my mom that we will not be bringing him to her house since her hubby smokes inside. She will have to come visit us. I know it sounds a bit rude but I don't care. I'll be rude anyday if it keeps my LO healthy. I've educated them as well as I can, that's the best I can do.

    As far as guidance, everybody I've spoken to about it has said keep them away from smokers. (Neonatologists, NICU nurses, pediatrician, pedi nurse, etc) Also numerous websites. And yes, they said it also increases the risk of SIDS.

    Lastly, as far as NICU visitors, we did not list any approved visitors. If they wanted to visit, we would go with them.

    Good luck!!! Keep us posted.
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  • I don't know if you already have or not, but I would suggest letting him know about the limits and the reasoning and all of that before the babies are born so that he doesn't have the wrong expectations about how much contact he'll be able to have when they arrive. No one needs to be dealing with family strife while they have kids in the NICU. Given your current situation, I would guess he's unlikely to give you much grief right now, so if you feel ready to do it, this might be the easiest time to set the boundary and move on. Of course, you know your family dynamic best, but based on my experiences with DW's family, that would be my advice. 
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  • Ditto PP. No smokers allowed near my babies.
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  • PPs have already covered everything but congrats on you twins! Wishing them a NICU stay as short as possible.

    And FWIW my mom is a heavy smoker and when I told her the dangers it possed to DS's lungs she understood.

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  • My son's NICU is supposed to be scent free. Even if your babies don't have lung problems, I wouldn't want him walking in and sitting anywhere near my baby's crib if he smells really bad like smoke.
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