We all know now that smoking is bad for your health in general, and when you’re planning a family it’s even more important for you and your partner to stop smoking and stay smoke free. You’re eating right, you’ve stopped drinking and smoking, you’re staying healthy for your baby, and your partner should be too. Before trying for a family is a good time for everyone to stop smoking. In this post I’ll be exploring the reasons to quit plus some ideas to get your partner to stop. It’s not easy, and I’ve been there myself, so I know what it’s like. It’s totally possible to quit no matter how ingrained the habit is or how long you’ve been doing it.
During pregnancy, and after you have the baby, it’s even more important to stay off the cigarettes and tobacco. Even if he smokes outside and washes his hands after smoking, the toxins (nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide) remain on your clothes and hair for at least an hour, and you also continue to breathe out the poisons for several minutes after putting out the cigarette. Smoking around babies, wherever you do it, will increase the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS, or cot death). It also increases their chances of being prone to asthma, chest infections, colds, glue ear and ear infections. If neither of you smoke, it doesn’t mean they won’t get any of these things, but smoker’s children (even if it’s just the partner smoking) are more likely to suffer.
Ways to get your partner to stop smoking
If the overwhelming information isn’t enough, and let’s face it, it’s an addiction and habit than can be hard to kick, especially if they’ve been doing it for most of their adult life. I’ve been a smoker myself in the past and stopped and started again, so I know what it’s like. I’ve been a non-smoker now for around 4 years and I don’t like the idea of starting again so I think I’m safe from it now. Here are some ideas to help nudge them in the right direction:
- Take it a day at a time
- Don’t say ‘This is my last one ever,’ it makes you panic and crave it more
- Concentrate on the positives of giving up, more than what you’ll miss
- Be aware of your triggers and find alternatives where possible. Avoid certain situations for the first 2 weeks if possible. Usual triggers are smoking with tea/coffee/alcohol, after mealtimes, during a work break, stressful situations
- Fruit juice will help flush the toxins out
- Chew gum instead of a cigarette
- Try vaping instead (E-cigarettes), making sure you use a quality vaping product. This will help with the habit rather than the addiction and takes away the toxins
- If you’re used to using smoking as a time out or stress reliever, still have that break and time out, but take a cup of tea or coffee instead, read a book or article.
- Don’t be tempted to ‘just have one more,’ or ‘I’ll only smoke when I’m out’ – it will soon start you on the road back to smoking.
- Save your smoking money – you won’t have loads of extra money, you’ll just spend it on other things!
- Tell everyone you’re quitting and get them to support you
- Get rid of all the lighters, ashtrays and any other smoking paraphernalia
Your support will be vital, remind him why he’s doing it, give him time and space. The earlier they can start the quitting process the better, like when you’re trying for a baby rather than when the baby arrives, when stress levels (and sleep deprivation) are high. Work on alternatives to smoking, like sports, hobbies and family time. Remember, you’re creating a much better, healthier home environment for your child and children to come, and you’ll all reap the benefits.