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Grandparents Get Baby-Care Refresher Course

Over the past ten years or so, more and more hospitals are offering grandparenting classes. We endeavor to keep our readers updated about these services. Check out this article by Palo Alto Online.com  https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2020/01/03/stanfords-baby-care-refresher-101-teaches-expectant-grandparents-modern-techniques by Chris Kenrick / Palo Alto Weekly

Stanford’s baby-care refresher 101 teaches expectant grandparents modern techniques

The seminar introduces participants to ‘skin to skin,’ rooming-in’ practices, among other methods


Marilyn Swarts, a former labor-and-delivery nurse, and nurse manager uses a doll to demonstrate how to swaddle an infant during a seminar for new grandparents looking to refresh their baby-care skills. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

During a recent class sponsored by Stanford Health Care, soon-to-be grandparents take a lesson on how to make the most of their new roles. Photo by Magali Gauthier.
On a recent Monday evening, 20 soon-to-be grandparents gathered in a Stanford Health Care classroom to get their grandparenting skills up to speed before the arrival of the newest members of their families. Most of them hadn’t swaddled, fed or cared for a baby in decades, and with advanced technology, new research, and different family dynamics, some of the accepted practices of baby care from those days have changed.

The group, which included 14 women and six men, shared information about their grandchildren’s impending births. Some — including a couple from Bangladesh and another from Florida — said they’d moved to the Bay Area specifically to help with child care. Several said they were taking the class at the request of their children or that their kids had paid the $65 tuition as a gift for them to attend.

The “Grandparents Seminar” at Stanford is part of a growing trend to help new grandparents become better informed about the basics of infant care and make the most of their unique role in the family.

“The story of what’s happening in this community is that grandparents — many grandparents — are doing child care, either full time or part-time,” said grandmother Marilyn Swarts, who worked for decades as a labor-and-delivery nurse and nurse manager and has been teaching the monthly grandparents class offered through Stanford Children’s Health for the past 15 years.

Swarts’ 2.5-hour session, which covers some of the latest pediatric thinking on newborn care, attracts grandparents from throughout the region and consistently sells out.

Swarts tells her students: “You’ve all brought up great kids, but today there are some pretty significant differences from the way we did things.”

At the top of that list, Swarts said, is the way infants should be put to sleep. To reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), babies always should be placed on their backs on a firm mattress “with absolutely nothing in the crib — no bumpers, no blankets,” she said.

Such advice comes as a surprise to many prospective grandparents who, prior to the mid-1990s, typically were advised to position infants on their stomachs for sleep. One soon-to-be grandmother said she’d retrieved old family photos in which her babies were “sleeping on lamb’s wool, on their stomachs, with bumpers and little toys — the whole nine yards.”

It’s now understood that stomach sleeping, blankets and crib bumpers increase the risk of SIDS, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The Sudden Infant Death rate in the United States has dropped by about 50% since the agency’s “Back to Sleep” campaign was launched in 1994, saving thousands of lives.

Also new to many grandparents are the “skin to skin” and “rooming in” practices in today’s maternity wards, which have brought an end to nurseries in many hospitals over the past decade, Swarts said. Instead of nurses whisking a newborn away for a checkup and a bath, the baby is placed belly down directly on the mother’s chest right for the first hour or more after birth. Newborn assessments are done in that position, and babies not requiring special medical attention remain in the rooms of their parents — yes, dads stay overnight in the hospital, too — throughout their hospital stay.

Swarts covers a host of other topics in her monthly evening sessions: the resurgence of swaddling, breastfeeding, cord clamps, cloth versus disposable diapers, the introduction of solid food and peanuts, baby food pouches, colic, soothing methods — including baby-soothing apps — warnings against honey and baby powder and more.

She reminds grandparents to update their flu vaccinations and to wash their hands often. She notes that today’s car seats are so complicated that parents and grandparents are advised to have their installation double-checked at the police or fire station.

But Swarts stresses that her single-most-important message for grandparents — repeated throughout the session — is to resist the urge to offer unsolicited advice to their child and their child’s partner.

Continue to original article here – https://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/2020/01/03/stanfords-baby-care-refresher-101-teaches-expectant-grandparents-modern-techniques

Grandparents Seminar

Asian grandparents with baby

A seminar designed just for expectant and new grandparents!

Learn about “Back to Sleep”, swaddling, giving a relief bottle, car seats and more. Led by a health care professional, this 2-1/2 hour class includes updates on the latest obstetrical and pediatric practices as well as car seat safety information. In addition, it will examine your unique role as grandparents and offer tips on how to support your own children as they step into parenthood.

Read about our class from the SF Chronicle: https://www.sfgate.com/moms/article/Granny-classes-teach-old-hands-new-baby-routines-6025909.php.

As with all of our classes, we encourage you to attend with your domestic partner. One class registration and fee allows you and your domestic partner to attend together. Please note this class is for Grandparents and grandparents to be only; the expectant couple does not attend.

Grandparent Package: Add an Infant & Child CPR class and get $10 off the total registration for the two classes. Use discount code “GPP” at checkout.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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