By: Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH,
Of all of the transitions in life, one of the most exciting is becoming a grandparent. Because today’s grandparents are often more involved in their grandbabies’ lives, it can help to make some preparations. We asked two uniquely qualified grandparents—two doctors who are also grandmas—what they didto prepare for their grandbabies.
Consider helping them to bank the baby’s umbilical cord blood. “When I found out my son and his wife were expecting, I wanted to get them a really special gift, and I chose to give them the gift of having their child’s cord blood banked,” says Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, a mom of three sons, and grandmother of one granddaughter, a family physician in Lexington, KY, and the coauthor of The Mommy MD Guide to Pregnancy and Birth. www.MommyMDGuides.com) “Long after the silver rattles and the strollers have been sold in a yard sale, my grandchild will still have her cord blood banked and ready to use if she ever needs it. It’s a gift that will last her lifetime, and it gives me tremendous peace of mind.”
Babyproof your home. “Because the new baby didn’t require kid proofing, nothing was changed—at first,” says Hana Solomon, MD, a mom of four and grandmother of two, a board certified pediatrician, and the author of Clearing The Air One Nose At A Time, Caring For Your Personal Filter (please link to www.nasopure.com) “As the baby grew, I adjusted items in my home depending upon their abilities to move. For example, when the baby started crawling, we installed a babygate for the staircase and we moved plants out of reach.”
“Before my granddaughter even started walking, I babyproofed our house,” Dr. McAllister adds. “I put outlet covers on all the outlets, moved all the cleaning products to a higher shelf, and lowered the temperature of the water heater. Removing baby dangers is critical, but it’s also important for grandparents to add baby-friendly features to their homes. I bought a used high chair, car seat, and a crib from one of my patients to make things easier for my son and daughter-in-law when they come to visit. I stocked a cabinet in the living room with baby toys, books, and musical instruments. I put diapers, diaper wipes, and baby lotion in the guest bedroom. The less packing my son and daughter-in-law have to do, the more likely they are to come visit Grandma!”
Help the mom-to-be relax. “For my daughter-in-law’s baby shower, I chose a gift for her, rather than the new baby,” says Dr. McAllister. “I wanted to let her know how much I loved and appreciated her, especially during her pregnancy, and figured I’d be spoiling my granddaughter for the rest of her life, anyway! I filled a basket with all kinds of mommy-to-be treats, like dark chocolate, bath salts, gourmet teas, lotions, and a gift certificate for a day at the spa. She loved it!”
“I gave the parents-to-be frequent reminders to stay in the moment—enjoy these moments,” adds Dr. Solomon.