Congratulations, you're going to be a grandparent

Congratulations, you're going to be a grandparent

Janine Gard is a diploma-qualified birth educator and founder of Bellies to Babies. She has taught more than 2900 parents to feel confident, informed, supported and prepared. This week Janine gives advice for new grandparents.

It’s a big deal – and an event you may have been anticipating for a long time or one that’s very unexpected, either way, it’s a big transition with many challenges as well as joy.

Here are my top tips to help you avoid common “new grandparent” pitfalls and handle your new role with love, peace and excitement.

Right from the get-go, many expecting parents experience tension or a feeling of being torn between several sets of grandparents forcefully asserting their wishes. It’s a recipe for stress that soon-to-be parents definitely don’t need. As much as you can, stay positive, be flexible and go with the flow. Focus on supporting them, rather than telling them what you want – they’ll appreciate it and, it’s not all about you.

Don’t: go on a baby shopping spree.

While you are downright ecstatic about your new grandbaby on the way and are absolutely well-meaning, you’ll want to first check in with the parents before buying a bunch of baby gear and clothes. Some expectant parents welcome all gifts, and others would prefer to make the most of the choices about clothing, toys, and gear themselves. And there may be other factors they’re weighing, like an impending move or limited space. Some may prefer a “less is more” approach and don’t want their homes filled with heaps of baby gear, at least not right away, and consider financial help or a small amount to start a savings account for the baby.

Do: brush up on the latest safety and newborn care recommendations.

Yes, it’s true, you raised at least one child who turned out fine following the parenting guidelines you had back in the day, but new research has uncovered a lot of valuable, life-saving data that should not be ignored (like how babies should always be placed on their backs to sleep and no pillows, blankets or stuffed animals should ever be placed in a baby’s sleeping space). Important links and support are at the end of this article.

Don’t: assume you’ll be invited to the hospital/home.

Some new parents prefer to spend the first couple days after their baby is born on their own — with no visitors, not even grandparents — and with the current new traffic light system, this may not be possible either. Don’t take anything personally. Aside from the fact that Mum is recovering from the labour and birth, possibly trying to figure out breastfeeding and most likely half-nude most of the time, this is also just an incredibly sacred and special time for the new parents to bond with their baby.

Do: tell them you like the name. No matter what – no exceptions.

Maybe you were hoping they’d choose a family name or maybe you think traditional names are boring. Whatever it is, keep it to yourself. If and when your child tells you what they plan to name their baby (or have named their baby) the only response is: “I LOVE it! What a perfect name.” The end. PERIOD!

Do: respect boundaries.

No matter how many kids you raised or how they turned out, your adult child and his or her partner are now in charge of the childrearing. Be cautious about offering opinions or advice unless asked directly. And even then, tread lightly and express yourself gently.

It’s all about respecting boundaries. Everyone parents differently, and it’s your child’s turn to learn what works for them. It’s hard to keep your lips zipped when you hear things you disagree with, perhaps from what kind of birth the parents are planning to what kind of childcare they’re considering. But you need to. If you try to intervene with a contrary opinion, you’re setting yourself up as an adversary and over time, you’ll strain your relationship with the new parents and your grandchildren.

Do: things their way.

If there were only one way to change a nappy, swaddle, feed, bathe, burp or heck, just raise a baby, we’d all be doing it “right”. The reality is, there are many ways to care for newborns and you’ll want to keep your opinions and advice to yourself unless explicitly asked (and even then, tread lightly, as your child is more than likely looking for support and reassurance instead of criticism). You’re used to being the one in charge, but this time it’s your child’s turn. That can be disconcerting, but you may find this role reversal refreshing as well. After all, with authority comes responsibility. Now it’s your turn to do what you’re told – and not worry about whether it’s the best way or not.

Don’t: take things personally.

It might have been a long time ago for you, but welcoming a new child into the world is a monumental life change — and when you add in Mum’s fluctuating hormones and physical recovery from the birth — some things might get said. It’s best not to assume any ill-intent and give the new parents the benefit of the doubt that they love and respect you, but are struggling through this new adjustment. Keep the lines of communication open and don’t hold a grudge.

Do: give new parents a break.

It’s easy to forget how overwhelming it is to be a new parent and how hard it can be to accomplish the basics. This is where you can step in to save the day and what a new parent really wants help with is household chores, meal prep, grocery shopping and the like.

During visits, offer to take care of your grandbaby while the parents nap or get other things done. Ask if you can help by running errands, making meals, or cleaning up. If other family members. friends or colleagues are dropping by, offer to help field phone calls or emails to minimise and schedule visits.

Some new parents are reluctant to ask grandparents to help, so you may get better results if you just jump in and do what’s needed, like filling the dishwasher or making sandwiches. But if you detect resentment afterward, don’t do it again – not everyone appreciates unsolicited help. Forgive the new parents for being overwhelmed and self-absorbed – it’s natural. Your child probably won’t have time for the things you used to do together, and your conversations will likely be all about the baby, at least for a while.

If you expect this and practice patience, you’re less likely to become hurt or resentful. And you can be pleasantly surprised when the new parents emerge from the fog of sleep deprivation and become your thoughtful loved ones again.

Do: offer reassurance.

Remember, your children and their partners are feeling insecure to begin with – parenthood is hard. They don’t need you to point them out. But they do need reassurance that they’re doing a good job, and support for making a difficult decision.

Do: know that you are loved and appreciated.

Through the good and the bad, know that your child has invited you to be a part of these special memories for a reason. Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye on everything and there are some sticky moments, they couldn’t do this without you and love you very much.

Support services you may find helpful:

● www.changeforourchildren.nz

● www.plunket.org.nz

● whanauoraservices.co.nz/services/tamariki-ora

● www.grg.org.nz/ – Grandparents raising grandchildren

● www.quit.org.nz

● www.pregnancyhelp.org.nz

●www.health.govt.nz/your-health/pregnancy-and-kids/first-year/helpful-advice-during-first-year/safe-sleep

● breastfeedingsupport.co.nz

● www.healthed.govt.nz/resource/feeding-your-baby-infant-formula

● Hawke’s Bay Baby Massage Classes, Bellies to Babies Antenatal & Postnatal Classes,
2087 Pakowhai Rd, Hawke’s Bay, 022 637 0624, https://www.hbantenatal-classes.co.nz/postnatalclasses

Medical disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

Facebook gently mocks the New Zilund accent in its first Metaverse ad

It’s time to enter the Matrix … of dad jokes. The Kiwi accent gets a gentle ribbing in Facebook’s first global ad for its much-hyped “metaverse”. The tech giant- which ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Auckland locations of interest list grows, Hamilton and Kaitaia shops added

More Auckland high-risk locations are being added to the growing list which now includes six flights, three bus routes, a liquor store, a bakery and a wedding that had up ... Read more »

Neil Young demands Spotify removes his music, citing Joe Rogan's podcast as a reason

Neil Young has demanded his music be removed from Spotify because it is “spreading” Covid-19 vaccine misinformation. The legendary musician has requested – via an online letter to his record ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron outbreak: Grant Robertson clashes with Heather du Plessis-Allan over RAT 'ban'

Newstalk ZB host Heather Du Plessis-Allan has clashed with Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson over the Government’s plan for the supply of rapid antigen tests (RATs). New Zealand’s supply of ... Read more »

Across NZ on an EV road trip: Where to stop, stay and charge

Motor Industry Association statistics show a record 3290 Teslas registered in Aotearoa last year, up from 592 in 2020. That accounts only for new Teslas – add other brands, used ... Read more »

Ski resorts invest millions to fight drought and climate change

The sight can be jarring during extreme drought: snowmaking guns lined up on a mountainside, blasting precious crystal flakes on a ski run while the rest of the land goes ... Read more »

Hunt on for Magpies' charity partner

The Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union has started the hunt for the Magpies’ charity partner as it looks forward to another big season of Ranfurly Shield and national provincial championship rugby. ... Read more »

Focus Morning Bulletin: 26 Jan, 2022

New mask mandates, schools prepare for teaching under red and Russia massing troops on the Ukraine border in the latest New Zealand Herald headlines. Video / NZ Herald Read more »

State Highway 2 to Wairoa to be closed for daytime repairs for two days in February

Travel on State Highway 2 from Napier to Wairoa will be blocked for 11 hours each day on the weekend of February 12-13 because of road works near the Devil’s ... Read more »

Covid 19 Delta outbreak: Pfizer begins testing matched shots in adults

Pfizer is enrolling healthy adults to test a reformulated Covid-19 vaccine that matches the hugely contagious Omicron variant, to see how it compares with the original shots. Pfizer and its ... Read more »

Football: Death toll in Cameroon stadium crush at eight as security blamed

The death toll in a stampede outside a game at the African Cup of Nations football tournament in Cameroon has risen to eight, as witnesses blamed security officials for making ... Read more »

Truck crash on State Highway 1 south of Milton

The driver of a logging truck is trapped after crashing into a ditch on SH1 in Otago this morning. A Fire and Emergency NZ spokesperson said they were called to ... Read more »

Alliance launches premium Wagyu beef offer for farmers

Alliance has launched a premium Wagyu beef offer to farmers in a bid to increase value and meet consumer demand in its international markets. The red meat cooperative is partnering ... Read more »

Two people injured after vehicle crashes into house in Auckland

Two people have been injured – one seriously – after a vehicle crashed into a house in South Auckland overnight. Emergency services were called to Roscommon Rd, Clendon Park, at ... Read more »

What agricultural innovation trends will we see at Fieldays 2022?

In recent years, agricultural innovation has been building momentum, helping farmers, growers, and organisations across the food and fibre sector, work smarter, not harder. A globally renowned awards programme, hungry ... Read more »

The Conversation: NZ facing 'triple planetary crisis' this year

As New Zealand’s government prepares to deal with a looming Omicron outbreak, this won’t be the only major issue it will have to tackle this year. 2022 will be important ... Read more »

Danish mum expecting triplets goes viral on TikTok

A Danish mum has gone viral after video of her belly while expecting triplets was posted to TikTok. Michella Meier-Morsi gave birth to Charles, Theodore and Gabriel this month after ... Read more »

Opinion: Why I never want to watch another TV show reboot again

OPINION: “The economy stinks, bees are dying, and movies are pretty much all sequels now.” I hate to break it to you, Schmidt from New Girl, but in 2022, so ... Read more »

Rugby unites in support of boy told he was too 'big' to play

It started out as a caring father’s message of support for his son who had been abused online for being too “big” to play rugby. Now, Alfie Pugsley is the ... Read more »

Opinion: Kāpiti has strong case for a small hospital

Weekly column by Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan. Over the long weekend I have been contacted by a number of people excited about a statement made by the new National Party ... Read more »

Gut health to workouts: Seven ways to optimise your health in a Covid world

First things first, being vaccinated is your best guard against Covid. There is no supplement, diet or lifestyle modification that can stop you contracting the virus. But as we return ... Read more »

QR Code scam warning issued by FBI

Authorities have warned of QR code scams targeting the public. The barcode-style tech has offered a speedy alternative to writing down personal details at events and venues, and has been ... Read more »

Treaty Grounds to close on Waitangi Day due to Omicron

The Waitangi National Trust will take the unprecedented step of closing the Treaty Grounds this Waitangi Day, saying it would be ”totally irresponsible” to allow people to gather at the ... Read more »

Palmerston North's Tangi Utikere: MP to continue focus on select committees and constituents

OPINION: Welcome to 2022! I trust you all managed to have a relaxing and refreshing festive break after a very different year that we can all place behind us; and ... Read more »

Catlins campground manager jailed for smuggling and dealing meth

A Catlins camping ground manager who concealed $50,000 of methamphetamine inside his body on a flight into Dunedin has been jailed for three and a-half years. Glenn Richard Maxwell’s tactics ... Read more »

Ukraine crisis: Ex-pats in New Zealand call for political pressure on Russia

From RNZ Ukrainians in New Zealand are very concerned about the escalation of tension between their home country and Russia, and want the New Zealand government to do more to ... Read more »

The Hits: Jamming on his birthday

Birthdays aren’t what they used to be. I should know, I’ve had HEAPS and just had another. For a start, when you get new shoes no one asks how fast ... Read more »

Sustainable travel: NZ's eco-friendly wildlife tours

Take it from someone who has survived the horror of booking an overseas “wildlife cruise”, only to find themselves boarding a battered old dinghy and sludging 20m into a netted ... Read more »

Former Home And Away star Felix Dean sentenced for string of violent offences

A former Home and Away star has been refused bail and will spend another six months behind bars, despite his lawyer asking for him to be released to go to ... Read more »

Sustainable tours that will enhance your marine reserve experience

Since New Zealand’s first marine reserve was created in 1975 at Cape Rodney-Ōkakari Point (also known as Goat Island Marine Reserve), we’ve seen proof of the profound transformation that can ... Read more »

Cycling: Former Tour de France winner Egan Bernal still in intensive care after crash

Former Tour de France champion Egan Bernal remained in intensive care on Tuesday after undergoing what his team described as “two successful surgeries.” The 2019 Tour champion from Colombia collided ... Read more »

Plan to reinstate Sutherland Mangahoe Reserve access after bridge destroyed

Access to a popular bush reserve in the Turakina Valley will be reinstated – but it may take time given New Zealand’s red light Covid setting, coordinator Michael Voss says. ... Read more »

Brooke van Velden: Why Govt's health remedy is a fail

OPINION: You may not have heard of the Pae Ora Committee. It’s new, set up to sweep away district health boards and change healthcare from one national system to two. ... Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron: Fewer than 900 MIQ rooms available for community cases

New Zealand has just shy of 900 quarantine rooms available in managed isolation facilities for Covid-19 community cases. The arrival of Omicron will see more cases, and close contacts, needing ... Read more »

Herald morning quiz: January 26

Test your brains with the Herald’s morning quiz. Be sure to check back on nzherald.co.nz for the afternoon quiz. To challenge yourself with more quizzes, CLICK HERE. Read more »

Covid 19 Omicron: Government to announce next stages of the fight against new variant

The Government will today reveal how it will try to step up the fight against Omicron as the highly infectious Covid-19 variant spreads across the country. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern ... Read more »

Review: Keeper of the lost cities introduces readers to a magical world

Review: Keeper of the Lost Citiesby Shannon Messenger For a book about a girl living in an unremarkable family in an unremarkable city, this book is surprisingly remarkable. Sophie Foster ... Read more »

Letters: Super Fund, housing, Omicron, Matthew Hooton, and women in sport

Super Fund housingHow is it that the Cullen fund, designed to improve the quality of life in later years, does not have investments in housing? The fund added over 10 ... Read more »

Helicopters targeted in legal stoush over noisy aircraft in Abel Tasman

Visitors hoping to heli-ride into a private enclave within the Abel Tasman National Park will be out of luck from April, following a controversial court decision. The Environment Court’s interim ... Read more »

Continuous Disclosure: How to combat turbulent sharemarkets and what lies ahead

Global sharemarkets have had a rocky start to the year as investors sweat on a range of issues, including inflation, rising interest rates and persistent Covid-19 cases. Recent market falls ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic