by Lynn Murphy
I became a grandma (Nana) 12 days ago… it has been a time filled with awe and wonder at the beauty of new life and what a grandchild brings to all the extended family.
It got me thinking that over the last 20 years of working with new parents and mothers I have not thought as much as possibly I could have about the role of grandparents. I have always welcomed them in, when visiting new mums who are attending my Baby & Me sessions and have often had grandmothers buying gift vouchers from me for their children, but I haven’t addressed grandparents directly.
Here are some tips on how we can support our children when they become parents, based on my postnatal work as well as personal experiences with families and now with my own new grandson. I would love to hear about your experiences too!
- Less is more: less stuff and more *simply being there* is often the best kind of support.
It can be tempting to buy lots of things for a new grandchild, especially when it’s your first (and those booties are adorable!!) But honestly, babies don’t need much at all in the beginning, especially if they have received lots of gifts already via baby showers or friends and family all wanting to welcome baby.
- Rather think about something that can make a difference for the new mum. How about the gift of a massage, or a block of Baby & Me classes where she will get to relax, bond with baby and meet other new mums?
- New parents get hungry and tired too. When cooking for yourself make double the quantity and take a nourishing meal around for the new parents. They will love you for it! Well nourished parents are more able to care for and nourish their new baby.
- When visiting the new family make yourself useful – put that kettle on and while you’re at it get the next inevitable wash going. Is there a wash for hanging out to dry or for folding/ironing? Or maybe even hire them a cleaner for a few months.
- A listening ear is always appreciated. There can be many concerns about how baby is doing – rather than trying to “fix it” simply listen and maybe just offer a little reassurance of how different all babies are and a reminder that “this to will pass.”
- Let the new parents know how well you think they’re doing. They will at times be doubting their abilities in this new role, even if they don’t say so. Your kind words of encouragement can greatly boost morale.
- Most importantly, remember that thoughts around baby care will have changed since you were a new parent, so don’t take offence if your children’s parenting style is different to your own. Our role is to support rather than judge, so only give your advice if asked and try to be as constructive as possible.
- Last but not least, remember that there are many ways to enjoy your grandchild and in the beginning that may mean being that extra pair of hands to wind a post feed baby, change a nappy or just a loving cuddle while mum eats lunch or goes the loo!
Happy days indeed!
Grandparents are more than welcome to attend my Life With Your New Baby day – a great way of learning more about new research on babies’ development and needs, plus it can be a beautiful experience to share with your own child and will give you lots to discuss.
Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more about gift vouchers for the New Baby & Me course or private sessions, or if you have any questions about how you can help as a new grandparent.
More about Lynn Murphy…
Following the birth of her two children and the inspiration of attending Active Birth Classes with Janet Balaskas, Lynn went on to train with Janet and colleagues, qualifying as an Active Birth Teacher for Pre and Postnatal yoga and Active Birth preparation for couples in 1997. She also trained in Developmental Baby Massage with doyen Peter Walker. She was invited by Janet, on qualifying, to teach at the Active Birth Centre were she is till this day as Co -Director.
Lynn brings her skills and love of Yoga, Massage and Active Birth to all her classes injecting them with positivity. Helping parents-to-be prepare for birth and parenthood is at the core of her work and to further support this she works closely with her local hospital on Maternity Voices, where she delivers workshops for couples on Active Birth & Massage for Labour. Looking forward till she meets them again with their babies!