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Being a grand grandparent

Grandma holding grandchildMary Gosche, Human Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension


Becoming a grandparent for the first time is a wonderful experience. Having raised children, many grandparents may think they know everything about caring for children and being a grand grandparent. However, things have changed and there are many new things to learn.

What changes are there in taking care of infants?


One big change is that a baby should only be laid on his/her back to sleep. Research supports this practice because it decreases the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Research also says that you should not place blankets, pillows or stuffed animals in the crib with the sleeping baby. Bumper pads should not be used either as they reduce the flow of fresh air around the baby during sleep. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that some infants, when they are overheated or lack sufficient oxygen during sleep, are unable to rouse themselves enough to prevent death. The AAP states that re-breathing of air may in fact be a contributing factor to SIDS. A safe crib should have a firm, tight-fitting mattress (with only a tight-fitting sheet), no broken hardware or slats and no cutouts in the head or foot boards. Drop-side rails are now prohibited in cribs.


Another change is that most people use disposable diapers. Newborns even have their own style of disposable diapers with an indentation for the naval. Soiled diapers now go in “diaper disposal systems.” The old cloth diapers are now primarily used for spit-up and burp cloths. There is a new movement of cloth diaper users, but there is now a wide variety of styles available, all of which are fitted, effective and cute.


Our new mothers are very informed and many are breastfeeding their babies. Expensive breast pumps seem to be on everyone’s gift registry. Along with the new breast pumps, there are storage bottles and bags to freeze breast milk, which is helpful for the mom-on-the-go.


Baby bottles is a subject that is endless. There are glass, plastic, plastic inserts, natural shaped, etc. You can find information on the internet and in parenting books about the different types of bottles to determine which type is best suited for the baby.


Recommendations for grandparents


Studies have shown that grandchildren who have a close relationship with their grandparents become responsible, caring adults who are less likely to fear aging themselves. Grandparents can be positive role models in the lives of their grandchildren.

Grandparents should determine and create specific roles for themselves with their grandchild. Do you want to have a playful relationship? Will you be responsible for the care and discipline of your grandchildren? Will you primarily be the reservoir of family wisdom? Will you have brief contacts with your grandchildren or will you see them frequently? Will you indulge your grandchildren or will you save for their education and their future?

Communicating and playing as often as you can with your grandchildren is easy advice for most grandparents. Through play, communicate your interests and share family history and culture. Always respect the adult children’s choices and parenting styles. And, as a grand grandparent, keep up with new parenting approaches.

Remember, your grandchildren need to hear the three magic words – “I love you” – from you often. Give the gift of time to your grandchildren and reap the benefits from the time that is given.


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Last Updated 09/06/2013