Preemies and Smokers — The Bump

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?
  • 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.

  • PurpleIris30PurpleIris30 member
    250 Answers 1000 Comments 250 Love Its Third Anniversary
    edited January 2014
    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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  • 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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  • Ditto PP. No smokers allowed near my babies.
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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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