(Greg's mother, me and Roman out in the London snow)
Grandmothers are great and the hubby and I would certainly have not survived our first few months with Roman without help from both of our mothers, but sometimes there are some things I wish they could remember from their time as a new parent. With that in mind, I thought I would make a list so I can remember this myself if I am ever in their shoes.
Sign up to a week-by-week pregnancy update
There are lots of things that have changed in the 30 years since my mother had me and probably even more she has forgotten. I have forgotten a lot already and I was pregnant less than a year ago. The email updates are great for letting you know what is happening with the baby each week and also provide up to date info on how things are done these days like what Mums-to-be should/shouldn't be eating.
Sympathy for fed up pregnant ladies
I was 2 weeks overdue when Roman arrived, and was totally over being pregnant! My whole body ached all the time, I couldn't sleep, struggled to walk and didn't feel up to much, so don't be surprised if the mother-to-be is not enthused if you want to drag her shopping for baby goods...or even to the supermarket.
Cooking and Cleaning
Even before the baby has arrived, most new parents wouldn't say no to having their dinner cooked or house cleaned. I found that taking care of my new baby was exciting and fun for me, so having someone else help with the household chores was much appreciated.
If you're a whiz in the kitchen, make up a batch of frozen meals for the new family. My Aunty was kind enough to bring us a frozen homemade lasagna, ready for the oven when we didn't feel like sorting out dinner ourselves. Soups, curries, pasta sauces and casseroles are all great to freeze and are easy to re-heat without too much effort. We froze meals in ziploc bags, laying them flat as they're freezing. That way they're nice and thin, stack easily in the freezer and defrost quickly. Label the bag with what's in them (obviously) and any cooking instructions.
Buying things for the baby
My Mum would buy the sun and the moon for Roman if I let her, but some gifts are more useful than others.
If you're buying clothes for the baby, you want them to be worn, so make sure they're easy to put on. Sure a little shirt is lovely, but if it has tiny buttons, needs ironing, and handwashing, it's not going to get worn more than once. Press studs/snaps are nice and easy to do up, so look out for these. Avoid clothes with buttons or snaps all the way down the back, especially on newborn clothes, as they don't tend to like being on their tummies while you do up an outfit.
Keep in mind the parents style. You may love the frilly, ribbon-rose covered pink dress, but if the parents are more into funky, modern clothing, you might be better off picking something a little more along those lines. This also applies to buying maternity clothes for the Mother-to-be if you plan on doing that.
If they make noise, listen to it a few times first...if it doesn't drive you crazy, then buy it.
Make sure that the toys are age appropriate. Most of them have age ranges on the box. Yes, your grandchild is a genius, so might be developmentally ready for a toy above their age range, but the age limits are often more related to safety than anything. Also, if the toy is for ages 3+, then the parents have to find somewhere to store it for 3 years, until it can be played with. If it's the deal of the century, hang on to it at your place until the time is right.
3. Big ticket items
If you're dying to buy a cot or pram for the baby, don't forget that the parents probably have a strong idea of what they like. If they're up to it, I think it's easiest to take them shopping and let them pick the item themselves, leaving you to pick up the tab. That way everyone is happy.
Thrifting things for the baby
Some people love thrifting, others hate it. Have an idea of the parents thoughts on second-hand items before you spend hours searching the 99c rack for great baby items. If parents only want new stuff for their baby, then your items will be making their way straight back to the opp shop.
If you're buying larger items, make sure they meet all current safety standards and that they don't contain any lead paint. There are standards for cots, prams and car seats to name a few. Also be aware of research relating to the use of second hand items, such as cot mattresses and car seats.
Making things for the baby
As a fellow crafter, I know how much fun it can be to make something for somebody, but also how disappointing it can be when your hours and hours of effort are not so well received and loved. If you're going to knit/crochet/sew goodies for the baby, make sure you know that it is going to be loved, and that the receiver will understand how much effort and love you put into what you make.
Feeding the baby
One of the first things my Mum fed Roman was a sweet cheese spread, much like cheesecake filling. Not a great first food for a baby! Talk to the parents about their approach to solid foods and research what is safe for babies to eat at each age group.
This is a random one, but I'm sure it's going to happen one day
Never cut the grandkids’ hair without prior permission, no matter what. Even if it looks good, the parents will see this as a breach of boundaries and there will be trouble, guaranteed.
If you have any other practical tips you think I should add, I'd love to hear them.