Grandparenting Tips

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 did to 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. “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 “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.

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