By Heather Burdo
Being a new grandparent can be so exciting. Your baby may be all grown now, but you get a second chance at having another baby around -- thankfully, you can give this one back when she gets fussy. All joking aside, even though this new baby is your grandchild, there are some boundaries you should be aware of and some other great advice.
Be Patient and Understanding
Think back to when your child was just a baby. Do you remember feeling anxious about certain things when it came to your baby? For example, ever feel a little panic when someone held your baby a certain way? Try not to forget that when you can’t understand why your child is so nervous about you watching the baby or doing something you think is okay. Be patient and understand your child has the same anxious fears you once had.
Listen and Respect Boundaries
You’ve raised a child, or maybe even a few children. However, that doesn’t mean you should tell your child how to raise your grandbaby. Times have changed. For example, if your child vents to you about not getting enough sleep, refrain from suggesting giving the baby rice cereal. Many grandparents give that advice, but it’s actually not recommended and can be dangerous to the baby. Maybe you did it in the past but thanks to research, they suggest not to do it for health and safety reasons such as it being a choking hazard and rapid weight gain.
Also, respect that everyone parents differently. Maybe you think that your child holding his or her baby will lead to spoiling him/her, it really won’t, even though that’s the mindset you were brought up with. As the baby gets older, respect any eating habits or discipline, even if you don’t agree.
Bonding Takes Time
You are so excited to spend time with your new grandbaby, but it seems like everytime you hold her, she cries uncontrollably. Don’t take it personally. It takes some time for a bond to form. Just be consistent, show her love, talk to her, and soak up cuddles whenever possible. Eventually, she will coo and smile at you when she’s ready.
Offer to Give the Parents a Break
If you offer to watch your grandbaby, it’s a win-win. You get quality time with the baby, and the parents get a much-needed break. If the baby is still a newborn, you may not be able to pry the parents away, and that’s okay - You can still offer to watch the baby while parents take a nap (It’s obvious they are sleep deprived and who would pass up an offer to sleep?)
Don’t Waste Precious Time
You are blessed to be a grandparent right now, but you never know if you will get another chance at it. Embrace each moment you get with the baby. Get down on the floor as she gets older and let your inner child out and act silly. Take as many photos as possible because they grow fast. Be in the baby’s life as much as possible, without being too overbearing.
Accept Your Role
If you’re the mom of the new dad, you may not see the baby as much as the maternal grandmother, especially in the beginning. Usually, daughters will rely heavily on their mothers in the beginning, so it’s nothing to feel insecure or defensive over. It’s not often a problem, and your grandchild will love you equally. As long as you make an effort and be in your grandchild’s life, she will adore you. If you want to spend more time with your new grandbaby, offer to help out the parents from time to time so that you can bond with the baby more.
Are you a new grandmother or about to be? Take these top pieces of advice into consideration. Remember, your child is a new parent now who is adjusting -- just like you’re adjusting to your new role of a grandparent -- be patient, and all will work out.
Heather is a freelance writer from New York. When she isn't writing about parenting, she is tending to her own two handsome boys. She enjoys all things related to motivation and mindset. All work aside, she enjoys activities outdoors and being with her family.
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