A new mum has expressed concerns over her mother-in-law touching her newborn after smoking a cigarette.

In an online letter, the new mum asked if her mother-in-law would be offended if she asked her to shower and change before touching her newborn.

“After researching thirdhand smoke, I am very concerned about her holding the baby after she has had a cigarette,” she wrote, in a post published on Slate.

“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.”

Thirdhand smoke is a growing concern and it’s something many new parents aren’t aware of. It can occur when somebody inhales smoke that is left lingering on a person’s clothes or hands.

The new mum is also worried her mother-in-law will feel “ostracised” by her decision.

“We don’t want to hurt her feelings, but obviously, those are likely potential outcomes. How can we still be welcoming and let her know we are excited to have her around while still setting these boundaries?”

The mum was advised that she was  perfectly within her rights to ask for what she wants; “her response to that is her business, not yours. When she’s visiting you, I think you can be strict about this. When you are visiting them, I think you have to, for necessity’s sake, be less so.”

Do you think she has a right to ask her MIL not to smoke before touching her baby?

Share your comments below

  • Absolutely 100% agree with this! Smoking is disgusting and so bad for kids and newborns to be around. If anyone I knew smoked there’s no way they would hold my baby before washing up and changing clothes!


  • I can see that this could be sensitive, but I’m on her side.


  • Most definitely!


  • I would think it would be common sense that you would wash hands etc after having had a cigarette. I understand her concern.


  • I wouldn’t want smokers touching my bub after a cigarette.


  • Totally agree with this mum, in fact, the MIL should automatically wash her hands after a cigarette.


  • I loathe the smell of cigarette smoke and thankfully we never faced this issue.
    I don’t blame the mum for not wanting bub to smell of cigarette smoke or be in contact with cigarette smoke.


  • Interesting that her husband is supportive of this too, so it should be on him!! I can totally understand you wanting that, but I cannot imagine MIL agreeing to it.


  • Could be hard to make this happen even with husband’s support – she is after all his mum and therefore thinks she knows best.


  • I wish I had had the guts to make my mother in law do this but with her strong personality and without hubby’s full support I didn’t. She tends to get away with whatever she likes.


  • I do think she has the right to ask her MIL to not smoke before she has a cuddle. Explain this to her privately so no one else knows. Give her your reasons and ask her to please understand. Make sure her husband is with her as well. Hopefully she will understand


  • The smell of cigarette smoke is easily noticed by some people who never smoke. One of my bosses was a heavy smoker. I distinctly remember coming home from work and my Aunty noticing the smoke smell before I even reached the room she was in. When I took my clothes off to have a shower I noticed they did smell of the smoke. My Mum said my hair did too. I suppose working with smoke around me I got used to it, not that I enjoyed it.

    • The smell of cigarette smoke actually makes me gag and feel ill!


  • Seems a bit extreme, but her child, her choices. I know I didnt like the thought of it when I had my son, but luckily we didn’t know many people who smoked


  • I support her asking her MIL not to smoke and change her clothes.
    I told my dad he could not have a smoke before coming to visit both my kids.
    Smoke smell lingers and rubs off on to clothing. Why would you want to expose your new baby to this.
    Our job is to protect our babies, and if people get offended by this, tough


  • My mil used to smile around my kids when they were babies but never around a friend’s baby when she visited.
    I think this mil could hold off having a anime until after she’s had a cuddle, and wash hands after smoking to. I did feel it’s a little much but it’s her choice, her baby


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