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Grandparent Info
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Grandparent Info

Over the last 20 or 30 years there have been many changes to the process of having and caring for babies. If it has been a while since you were involved in that process, you may have a lot to learn. If you try to implement your tried and proven methods from when your children were babies, you may end up at odds with those very children who now have their own babies. It might be the first time you have ever had to ask their permission to do anything. They will be just as nervous and frightened as you were when your firstborn arrived. Just go with the flow and try to adapt.

As the grandparent, you may want to provide some important piece of equipment for the new one. Safety requirements have changed for all of babies' equipment. Car seats and other hard plastic pieces actually have expiration dates, so it is not possible to keep handing them down to the next baby in line. However, they are much safer if properly installed, than they ever have been. The base gets attached to the seat of the car, and the top is removable. It can be used to carry the child or possibly fit into a shopping cart.

Cribs are also safer, and there are all kinds of swings and cradles. There are even baby beds for the newborn that can be placed right next to Mom at night. Some cribs are made to be reconformed into toddler beds, then twin beds, then full-size beds, with the addition of a few pieces and different mattresses, as the child grows.

Toys are more educational and safer to play with. Bedding and baby clothing are flame-retardant, and should not be washed with fabric softener. There are new fabrics that are soft and durable. Disposable diapers are not so bulky, since ultra-absorbent fibers are now used to keep wetness away from baby. Some have wetness indicators built in, since it is difficult to tell by feeling when they are wet. The tapes are not really tape, but more like velcro.

Formulas are more varied and scientifically suited to each child's digestive needs. They can be mixed from concentrate or powder, one bottle at a time, so there won't be a refrigerator full of them. Bottles can be sterilized in the microwave.

Quite often the parents will have a video of their baby as soon as the doctor is able to see the child's bodily functioning while in-utero. This is usually done during the twentieth week of pregnancy. All sorts of tests are done to determine what, if any medical conditions the child may have at birth. There will probably be another video given to expectant parents, detailing exactly how to care for them when they are born. Medical science has made giant leaps forward in just the last ten years. So has technology. Watch these videos if at all possible.

You must learn what is acceptable, or you will never be allowed to babysit! Visit baby gear sites so you will know what is now available. Read about modern methods of caring for baby so you wil be prepared. You are able to help with a problem now and then, due to your own experience, but if you are not sure your advice is still relevant, don't offer it. If you find yourself in a position between parents who are at odds with you or each other you will need to know what to do. Grandparents have legal rights, and you will need to know how to enforce your rights in order to see your grandchild.

The driving force behind many of the differences in the way we took care of our children and the way it is now done is fear of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The baby must not be put to bed on his or her tummy or side, or with a loose blanket or stuffed toy. They are not allowed to sleep more than 4 hours at a time without being aroused until good breathing rythm is established.

Don't despair, though. Babies are still babies. That never changes. They will still be up wanting to eat and needing a new diaper every few hours. Any help with household chores that you can give so Mom can sleep when baby does will help.


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Amanda v.  

Nice article!

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  about 1 decade ago
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