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5 Changes For Grandparents To Know About

Becoming a grandparent is a wonderful new chapter in our lives. And while I'm not there yet, I'm looking forward to it. However, after talking to one of my infant care classes, I was reminded of how many things have changed since we were babies. Here are 5 things that have changed, that as a new grandparent you should be aware of.

Do Not Sleep With Baby On Your Chest.

Hidden in the depths of a picture drawer, amongst all the photos of your children with Santa, and you with your new station wagon and jean shorts, there is likely a picture or two of you or your partner, asleep on a large brown, pleather or corduroy recliner with a baby sleeping on your chest. This is no longer recommended and could be potentially dangerous for the baby, should they slip off and fall.

The same holds true for sleeping with baby on your chest while you are on the sofa. Baby could move and shift and either fall off or slide between you and the back of the sofa. New recommendations are for baby to sleep on a firm, flat surface with no pillows, blankets or other soft bedding or toys, even for nap time. As snuggly as a baby is, it's best to make sure they sleep in a cradle, bassinet or pack n' play while you are caring for them.

No More Baby Powder

Back in the day, when changing baby's diaper, it was common to sprinkle a little baby powder or cornstarch powder onto your baby's tushy. This was done to help absorb wetness that the diaper didn't. Now a days, commercial brand diapers are so absorbent, powder isn't necessary and, the molecules of powder can actually, if inhaled by baby, clog their little lungs and be a suffocation hazard. So ditch the powder.

Leave The Umbilical Cord Alone

We used to, and I did this with my first baby, clean the umbilical cord with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide at every diaper change. However, this is no longer recommended. Research suggests that this step may kill off important bacteria necessary to heal the stump and allow it to fall off. In the meantime, keep the umbilical cord outside the diaper by folding down the front of the diaper, so it doesn't get wet or come in contact with urine. The cord will eventually fall off anytime in the first two weeks after birth.

Let Them Pick The Baby Up

Throughout the 70's, 80's and early 90's the Ferber method, of leaving baby to cry and not picking baby up was in full swing. This meant, when baby cried, they were not picked up and had their needs met. As a grandparent, we may say something like, "Don't pick them up constantly, you'll spoil the baby." For newborns, this couldn't be further from the truth. Newborns brains just don't work that way. When you respond to their crying, you are showing baby that if they need you, you will be there for them. Because they see you as their safe space, their protection and we want to solidify that feeling, especially as they get older, they will come to you when something is wrong or they need help, or they are scared. So if your grandchild is being raised with a gentler form of care, respect that boundary that the birthing parents have put in place.

Back To Sleep

A generation ago, babies were generally placed on their stomachs to sleep. It was believed that if baby's spit up, they would be less likely to choke. However in the mid 1990's, after much research, the "Back To Sleep" campaign was launched as research had showed an increase in the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death, or Sudden Unexpected Infant Death when babies were put to sleep on their stomachs. So resist the urge to put baby to sleep face down, even if you did that with your babies. The back to sleep and Safe Sleep method is endorsed by the Canadian Paediatric Society and most major Paediatric organizations around the world.

If this all seems like a lot, just know there is so much more that has changed. I highly recommend following the lead of the parents, your children, in the rules and boundaries they are setting up for their kids. They have done so much reading and research about their babies and how to keep them safe, if you're in doubt, just ask them. They need your love and support during this new chapter in their life, not a battle of the generations.


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