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The benefits of not smoking will last your whole life. But changes related to the birth may trigger an old urge to smoke. So use the excitement of a new baby to stay smoke-free. Think of your newborn’s first cry, or that new-baby scent. Make a new plan to help get through these busy months.
After you quit, you still need to think about avoiding secondhand smoke. Help yourself succeed by making your home smoke-free.
Ask your spouse, partner, or roommate to smoke outside.
Tell your friends and family you’ve quit. Let them know your home is now smoke-free and you’d like them to honor your decision.
Also tell them that you appreciate their help. Because they keep smoke out of your home, your baby stays healthy and you stay smoke-free.
You quit smoking so that you’d have a healthier baby. Now stay smoke-free, so that you’ll be a better role model. By not smoking, you’ll also gain some big benefits:
Healthier breast milk
Less chance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Fewer coughs and colds for you and your child
Less risk of your child having allergies, asthma, or other lung problems
Less chance that your child will smoke
A greater chance of having a long and healthy life to spend together
What if you can’t quit all the way or you start smoking again? Many people quit more than once before stopping for good. Success is a building process. You can improve with practice. Also, talk with your healthcare provider about joining a support group or seeing a counselor. And remember: Every cigarette not smoked benefits your baby and you.
A slip can be useful. If you’re honest, the slip might tell you something. Do your best to answer these questions:
How did the cigarette taste?
How did your hands smell after you smoked?
What did you learn about being tempted?
Have you found a new trigger?
What can you do to avoid slips in the future?
You’re likely to have a few crazy months ahead, taking care of a newborn and maybe running a house or going back to work. Plan ways to take care of yourself, so you won’t be tempted to smoke.
Get some exercise. Practice deep-breathing exercises.
Review your list of triggers. Add any new ones that may show up.
Remember how to let go of stress without smoking. Relax, take mental breaks, and try to lighten your outlook.
Rest when the baby sleeps, and know when to say no to visitors. Set limits. It’s OK to protect your new family.
Avoid secondhand smoke — smoke from those around you. It’s dangerous for your baby and your health. And it makes it harder to not smoke.
Here are some resources to help you stay smoke-free:
National Cancer Institute Smoking Quitline: 877-44U-QUIT (877-448-7848)
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