Becoming a Gran(101 Posts)
I am so excited that at long last I am going to be a Gran. I would really like advice on not giving advice. So all you new Mum's and Dad's to be... let me know what wound you up with the potential Grandparents... as I so do not want to be one of them. :-)
For a start, I'd avoid saying things like "at long last" in real life!!!
But congratulations - and enjoy grand parenthood!
Congratulations! Everyone is different but here are some things I didn't like...
I really didn't like my bump being touched so maybe don't rub the mum to be's tummy unless invited.
When visiting after the baby is born, instead of just wanting to hold the baby, ask the mum how she is, take a meal that can be reheated and do the dishes.
Remember to congratulate the dad too and ask how he is, it's a big deal for him too.
Probably best not to offer advice unless asked as new parents get advice from every person they speak to and it becomes tiring.
Just say to the parents you're there to help if they want any at anytime and leave it as an open thing, don't push to babysit as they might not be ready to leave the baby for a long time if ever.
I'm sure the fact that you are even asking and worrying about this means that you will be a kind and considerate granny.
Pretty much everything advised now is different to 25-30 years ago.
Don't say "we did X and it did you no harm"
Don't say "hmm" with an eyebrow raised
Don't comment on the name choice, especially listing out all the names you don't like.
When invited to meet lovely new baby, don't overstay your welcome. Five days of staying over (from day one), then getting all put out because the new parents would like to actually have their home back/have alone time with baby, is not helpful.
If breastfeeding is taking its time, don't suggest to 'give up, or at least give the baby water', after a couple of days.
Don't tell your daughter/DIL 'most men cheat on their pregnant/postnatal partners'.
I may be projecting slightly.
Some areas run grandparent courses as so much of the advice has changed also just ask what they need or want. My parents paid for an all singing dancing pram which was great...
You can never preempt what will wind up new parents.
They are sleep deprived, hormonal and have no idea what they are doing.
You can't usually guess what they will take personally (and I'm that new parent who fell out with her mum for a week because of a phone call we had three days post birth).
Things I personally would avoid;
Suggesting you should be at the birth
Trying to visit on your terms immediately after the birth (or even within the first week) without an invitation.
Making any comment on their parenting decisions within the first two months (the only right thing to say is "you are doing a great job")
Being in their house and not cooking/cleaning/making yourself useful.
Demanding to hold the baby and being reluctant to give the baby back. (Demanding and not asking).
The very best thing you can do is ask them what they want, and respect the answers even if you don't like them.
The way you are in the first few months can massively shape the entire relationship going forward. If you are respectful of their space, it will likely be repaid in spades by open access to them and your grandchild.
Day 3-4 post birth is the worst time for a women, I have a hormonal breakdown on day three, every single time. That is the day to only be there if you are specifically invited or risk having your head ripped off!
I know the above sounds daunting, but if you heed the advice you will get on this site, it will make your life much better in the long run.
And congratulations on being a gran!
The fact that you have even asked means you'll be fine.
Just bear in mind that your daughter will be tired, hormonal and emotional and that absolutely anything you say that can be taken the wrong way will be! Practical support such as help with ironing/stocking the freezer much more appreciated than any advice. Also if in doubt offer cake!!
Read up on current advice, that way you don't act too shocked when told about something that is different to how we did it!
Other than that, offer help when visiting, as mentioned above, make a meal, help with some laundry, whatever the new parents want really. Let them know you are there for them aswell as the baby, as hard as that can feel. I know when my dgd was born I would have happily held her all day, but after a long cuddle, doing practical stuff for her mum was very welcome.
As above, don't say 'When you were little..' a lot, things have changed a lot and what was normal 20+ years ago isn't now.
Mostly though, enjoy being a Gran, it's wonderful
Awh congrats! From someone who has lovely supportive inlaws and parents I'm afraid I can't give you much advice. Enjoy
Please don't start demanding to have the baby overnight! I did not want to be separated from either of my babies (even though they were bottle fed after about 6 weeks) for a good couple of months and my MiL was demanding overnight stays from the word go.
Please don't demand to feed a baby if it's bottle fed. Most mothers like the close contact of feeding their babies regardless of how they choose to do it and someone else swooping in to grab baby and bottle intrudes on that.
The children can also develop a perfectly good relationship with you without having to be there by themselves; again my MiL kept demanding to have the grandchildren on her own "without you because it will give you a break" - except I did not want or need a break and having to continually say "no, I am not comfortable leaving them for such long periods" gets really wearing.
If any other grandparent isn't in their life for any reason (my mother died before my children were born) - please don't start saying "you have to be nice to me and let me do everything because I am their only grandmother". It hurts.
Hmmm. Think some projecting may be going on here too. Sorry.
What I found helpful from my mum:
- making bottles up in advance for me
- sterilising stuff
- being gatekeeper for all the guests and not being afraid to say no to people when she knew I was too tired for visitors
- washing, and tidying up for me
- looking after the baby while I slept
Trying to push formula feeding if they are struggling with breastfeeding. Some mums feel strongly about succeeding with BFeeding and it's always tough at first. This goes for the other way round too - pushing BFeeding if wanting to formula feed (though my experience was the first way round and I've seen a few threads about this)
You could probably pick up a lot just by reading recent threads on here.
I would start by asking the parents what they would like. Let them know you are happy to help and support, but without treading on toes.
And don't boss them about, or disagree with the midwife and health visitor because you know more than them.
Congratulations and how lovely that you are being thoughtful about it! I think it totally depends on the relationship you have with your son or daughter and their partner, but I would say take their lead on how they want to do things, drop them a text every now and then ("anything you need from the shops" kind of thing), take cakes or biscuits when you go round .
And the one thing that I think has already been said, don't say oh we used to do this, we used to do that. There are better ways of giving advice!
Hope you really enjoy it, my mum always says it's like getting all the best bits of being a parent all over again
I'm 14 weeks with my first and my mum is the best! She will be an amazing grandma and hearing her so excited makes me more excited. BUT I told her some of the names we are wanting and was met with 'ooo that's a bIt boring' and 'I prefer...' - this bugged me and definitely have now decided only my and DP will know the names until they're born!
Things my mum did which annoyed me
*insisting a newborn sleeping in the day would mean they will wake at night. Fuck off!!
*insisting that cuddles would make a clingy baby
*coming to visit then complaining the baby was sleeping so turning and leaving
The best thing my MiL did for me after I had her first grandchild (by EMCS, and had a hard recovery) was to come round once a week: scheduled in advance, arrived on time, brought food, and did the laundry. All the laundry. For 6 weeks. God I love that woman.
My mum lives too far away to be much help unfortunately.
Unless you're a birthing partner or are specifically asked, don't turn up at the hospital until well after the baby's born.
Don't announce the birth on social media before the parents and don't post pictures of mum and baby immediately after the birth either. (Thanks FIL ) Mum will probably not thank you!
Grandparents should be allowed to spoil their grandchildren, I think. But if the parents ask you specifically ask you to do or not to do something, please listen to them and respect them.
Remember as much as you love this baby, he or she isn't yours. You don't get a say on the name, whether the baby will be christened etc or any other major decision.
Enjoy the tiny bundle of life and be proud to be a grandparent.
I think it differs depending on whether it's your DD or DSs partner that's pregnant. I've been present at the birth of both my DGC, have them overnight once a week and speak several times a day, all at my DDs instigation. She will ask my advice if she feels the need but mostly she's amazing and I just back her up and enjoy her gorgeous babies.
When my DSs have children I would not expect such an intense role, firstly as they live further away but also because the dynamic is different. I'm taking note of all the comments here for future reference so I don't turn into that MIL!
Read up about breastfeeding so you know what you are talking about and why saying things like "baby needs water" or "baby is constantly feeding so you're not making enough milk" would be completely wrong.
Once a week, unprompted, say something along the lines of "Gosh you are a good mum/dad".
Don't insist you know everything about every baby because you had X yourself
Don't feel that if you can't tell the parents what to do then you are of no value
Don't insist on buying a vital bit of equipment then don't so the other grandparents have to buy it while baby being delivered
Give the baby back if mum asks, particularly if crying. Do not offer round for one last cuddle.
Do not compare the baby to yours. And do not suggest yours were better.
Do not criticise baby . E.g. appearance, suggest slow development means lazy, will not be xxxxxx.
Do not criticise parents. If they have a lie in because it is the only consecutive 2 hours the baby sleeps do not judge.
As others have said, don't force being able to feed the baby, have alone time or anything. The parents may be biting off your arm for such things, but not all parents feel that way. Follow their cues. Do not project your own experiences.
Basically do not let the excitement of being a gran overwhelm you. Don't forget your child and their partner in the excitement of a grandchild. If you can take pleasure in seeing your child be grown up and acting as a parent (and be proud of the years of parenting that led to this) and not try to take over, just support as they want /need then I don't think you will go wrong.
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