Caring for Family

Getting Grandparents up to Speed on Baby Care

Getting Grandparents up to Speed on Baby Care

A grandparent's love is a special gift for your child. Grandparents who live far away may stay close via phone, Skype or social media as the weeks fly by. Those who live nearby may be more frequent visitors or even regular caregivers for your child.

When grandma or grandpa comes over to babysit, you may breathe a sigh of relief. A grandparent has so much love for your child; there couldn't be anyone more highly qualified to spend time with your baby! However, you may also have concerns about getting grandparents up to speed on the latest in baby care and child safety.

The rules of baby care have changed since the last time many grandparents changed a diaper. Back then there were no apps or nurse hotlines to answer health questions. Video baby monitors didn't exist and babies were put to sleep in whatever position was most comfortable with loose blankets tucked around them.

Given the new and changing guidelines for keeping babies safe, it's important to have a conversation about baby care basics. Grandparents may not completely agree with your choices as a parent, but they should honor your wishes and be open to new ways of doing things. Grandparents are loaded with good advice too, so be sure to give them a chance to share wisdom. Working together as a team is good for baby and the whole family.

Talk About Safety

Consider creating checklists with reminders for diapering, feeding and bathing baby. Post them next to the baby changing station, bathroom or refrigerator. Writing down your preferences can help grandparents and caregivers navigate these steps more easily. Here are some general safety tips for grandparents and other caregivers:

  • Always use an age–appropriate car seat when transporting baby. Learn more about car seat safety as baby grows.
  • Put baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and nighttime. Remove blankets and soft toys from the crib.
  • If a child becomes ill, check with the child's doctor or parent before administering medicine.
  • Childproof the grandparent's home before your child visits. This becomes important as baby learns to crawl and walk. Tie up window blind and drapery cords, install safety gates and plug outlets with covers.
  • Keep medications out of sight and locked away. If grandparents carry medications in a pill box, be sure to lock it away in a secure place.
  • Avoid feeding children under 4 peanuts, popcorn, raw vegetables, hard fruits, whole grapes or cherries, or hard candies.
  • Follow the age guidelines when choosing safe toys. Manufacturers generally consider both safety and developmental readiness when determining age–appropriateness.

Although the guidelines for grandparenting may change, one thing stays the same — grandparents get to have all the fun! When grandparents spend time with baby, they are building a special bond that's made out of giggles, hugs, peek–a–boo and the simple words "I love you!"