When you become a new parent, not only does your status change, but so does that of your parents (and parents-in-law). It may not be the first time they’ve become grandparents, but it’s the first time they’ve become grandparents to your children. Here are some ideas on how to build a better grandparent.
1. Set some boundaries – Let them know what’s ok and not ok when around baby. Let them know how comfortable you are having them discuss or watch you breastfeed. Let them know if they overstep the mark with advice.
2. Let them have their own relationship - Your child’s grandparents will have a connection that’s related to, but separate from you. Inevitably there will be things that you’re not a part of. It’s important to be able to foster and encourage their relationship (which sometimes means giving a small concession on the whole boundaries idea) in order for them to have a healthy relationship.
3. Give them a job – Everybody loves to feel needed and it’s doubly rewarding when you’re needed by your newborn grandchild (or so I’ve been told). So give the new grandparents a job. Have them warm the baby bottles or pop the child in a baby sling and walk them around the house till they sleep. Ask them to pass the breastfeeding pillow or simply hand the baby over for a cuddle while you shower.
4. Remember, they’re not just your parents, they’re people too – they may have a different idea as to what the baby essentials are, or your mother might launch into the same awkward story involving a breast pump, a cat and a block of cheese, every time she sees you, but they’re family. Even when they’re challenging, keep your cool.
Remember, this is not just a learning process for you, but for them too, so be firm but fair, it’s good practice for when baby turns into a toddler!