'We learned that whatever we did with our kids, to do the opposite': Grandparents take classes to bring them up to speed with modern baby rules
Bringing up a baby is not what it used to be.
Ten fingers and ten toes, crying, hunger and diapers: check. But when it comes to modern child rearing, the path is fraught and can be a minefield of contrasting and often confusing confusing 'correct ways' as to sleep cycles, routines, breast feeding and child safety.
It's no wonder that more and more hospitals are now offering grandparents' courses, teaching the older generation how to adapt to the latest baby rules.
Bringing up baby: More and more grandparents are heading to baby school, where they learn modern approaches to caring for newborns
Whether willing participants, or given a gentle nudge by an anxious mother-to-be, oldies are being schooled in the lessons of modern newborns, reports Today.com.
For Jodi and Doug Pugsley, that meant a trip to their local hospital with their pregnant daughter, Christine Barzare.
The Edmonds, Washington, couple were given some timely updates – and found that much of what they learnt was in stark contrast to their prior parenting knowledge.
'We learned that whatever we did with our kids, to do the opposite' Mrs Pugsley told Today.
She said that they had wanted to sign up to the course to 'be involved as much of the process as we could be – as was appropriate'.
The 'really good stuff' they learnt included the 'new ways' of tummy time, sleep sacks, rear-facing car seats and not boiling bottles for sterilisation.
Placing babies on their fronts to sleep – as was advised in the 70s – is a big no-no now, says the news site, and while front sleeping is the way to go, it does mean, the Pugsleys learnt, that infants tend to learn to crawl slightly later nowadays.
On a more emotional level, the courses have proved to be a highly emotional experience for some soon-to-be-grandmothers, who make a connection with their daughters over the shared experiences of childbirth.
'We were boasting, like, “We
went to school, we passed Grandparenting 101″'
Janet Bowen, of Bellevue, Washington's Overlake Hospital, remembers the bygone era of 'twilight sleep' when women were drugged and babies were delivered by forceps. The habit meant that many older women have little recollection of giving birth, the grandparents seminar leader told the news site.
'When they realize that their daughter is going to have memories and participate in the birth, and it’s not something that’s being done to them, that is amazing, and sometimes, a bit overwhelming', she said.
Nancy Sanchez, of the Lucile Packard
Children’s Hospital, in Palo Alto, California, said the programme she
created is simply about helping wobbly garndparents to find their feet.
From being shown around birthing suites to being given tips on when to offer advice and when to stay diplomatically silent, the courses are all about celebrating the right of passage of entering another phase of life – and perhaps reconnecting with long-lost school days.
One 60-year-old, Jean Lyssey, secretely signed herself and her husband up for a 'grandparenting 101' course in Plano, Texas.
She told Today.com that they were proud of their Medical Center seminar: 'We were boasting, like, “We
went to school, we passed Grandparenting 101″'.