8 Do’s and Don’ts for First Time Grandparents

Congratulations! You’re going to be a grandparent! This might be a dream-come-true for you, or maybe it was a big surprise and you’re not yet feeling ready to be a grandparent. One thing is for sure: While becoming a grandparent is full of many joyful moments it can also prove a little challenging, too. Here are eight easy tips for making the transition enjoyable and fun:


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. Ask what the new parents need or if they have an online baby registry you can pick items from.


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 crib). Many hospitals even offer grandparent classes now, which could be a great resource.


Don’t: Assume You’ll Be Invited to the Hospital Some new parents prefer to spend the first couple days in the hospital on their own — with no visitors, not even grandparents. Don’t take it personally. Aside from the fact that mom is recovering from childbirth, possibly trying to figure out breastfeeding and most likely half-nude most of the time, this is also just an incredibly sacred and sentimental time for the new parents to bond with their new baby.


Do: Tell them you like the name. No matter what. 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.


Don’t: Hog the baby. The truth is, while everyone loves to hold a newborn baby, what a new parent really wants help with is household chores, meal prep, grocery shopping and the like. The first days and weeks are extremely important bonding time for mom, dad and baby — make sure you are giving them space for that bonding.


Do: Things Their Way. If there were only one way to diaper, 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).


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 mom’s fluctuating hormones and physical recovery from childbirth — 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: 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.

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