Mum BANS 'heavy' smoking MIL from touching baby unless she showers first


Content Editor / March 19 2019

As a new mum, you naturally want the best for your baby. And as robust as newborns can be, they also need protecting.

An expectant mum shared online that she was concerned about her mother-in-law, who is a heavy smoker, touching or holding her baby and transferring second-hand smoke onto bub.

Smoking near or around a baby, as most will know, increases risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), quite substantially.

Getty Images

Getty Images

“I am expecting my first baby soon,” she explained to the Care and Feeding column on Slate. “When the baby is born, my in-laws will be coming for a visit. My mother-in-law is a heavy smoker. I’m not worried about her smoking in front of my child, but after researching thirdhand smoke, I am very concerned about her holding the baby after she has had a cigarette.

“My husband and I have decided that after she smokes, she needs to shower and change her clothes before she can pick up the baby.”

Not wanting to offend her MIL, the expectant mum asked how she should approach the situation delicately, while still protecting her baby.

While the columnist agreed that she had a right to protect her child and make the requests for showering and a clothing change while in her own him, he suggested that if she were at her MILs house she may have to let it slide – and stay in a hotel if she’s concerned about second-hand smoke within the home.

Others, however, said the woman was over-reacting.

“To insist on a full shower and complete change of clothes strikes me as extreme, obsessive and ultimately perhaps punitive – a passive aggressive comment on a practice of which the daughter-in-law disapproves,” one person wrote.

And someone else agreed that this would only drive a wedge between grandma and the mom's kid. “I'm super against smoking, I think it's a little extreme to request clothing changes and showers from someone who will be a pretty rare visitor,” the user wrote. “If your goal is for your MIL to never see your kid, go ahead with this.”

Another suggested that she speak to a paediatrician to weigh in on the risk and how to mitigate it.

“It’s important for her to know that you welcome her and love her as part of your family, so be sure to say in clear and explicit language that you welcome her and love her,” added advice columnist Carvell Wallace.
“Her hurt feelings may interfere with her ability to hear it, but that’s fine. She can just deal with it.

“With any luck, this will spur her to take a second look at her relationship to smoking and maybe even cause her to let go of something that is clearly standing in the way of being with her grandbaby.”

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.