1. Beal, Judy DNSc, RN

Article Content

Gaffney, K. F., Beckwitt, A. E., & Friesen, M. A. (2008). Birth, 35, 66-72.


The purpose of this study was to describe mothers' reflections about infant irritability and their desire to smoke a cigarette. These 86 mothers reported that they had smoked before pregnancy, stopped or decreased cigarette use during pregnancy, and intended to continue to be nonsmokers after delivery. Forty percent of mothers who intended not to smoke after childbirth did resume smoking by the end of the first week of the postpartum period. This percentage increased to 51% by the end of the second week. Most of all participants indicated that sustained smoking cessation was difficult and that when their infants cried for long periods of time they thought of smoking.


Four major themes emerged from the data. Mothers described not knowing what to do during episodes of relentless crying. Mothers who were successful in not resuming smoking indicated that they were more comfortable in knowing how to soothe their babies. Most mothers described that it was most difficult to deal with their infant's crying when they were tired and that smoking was viewed as a way to seek renewal and become refreshed, more alert, and hence better able to cope with the stress related to their infant's crying. For these mothers, smoking was seen as a way for seeking relief. Even the mothers who had not resumed smoking reported anticipating that cigarettes could provide relief and that it was most difficult to resist during episodes of relentless crying. Most of the mothers reported that their baby's crying made them feel bad about themselves. This evaluating of self included feelings of guilt and stupidity among the smoking mothers but feelings of pride for those who had not resumed tobacco use. The researchers identified suggestions for future research and recommended that nurses explore with mothers what interventions had been most helpful to them during pregnancy and enforce these strategies to support nonsmoking in postpartum women.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

Judy Beal