What can a grandmother do while their grandchild is in the nicu?
Grandmothers can play an important part in the support group of their child who just had a baby in the nicu! A grandmother may take the parents cell phones and form a communication lane to other friends and family members to update them on the situation. The first few hours of a babies life in the nicu can be very stressful on a parent and answering the phone can just add to more stress. A grandmother can also direct other family members to take up task to help nicu parents get their mail, yard mowed, and house cleaned while the nicu parent is preparing for a long nicu stay. We believe the grandmother can do a lot of good for the nicu parents if she is ok with the role! Grandmas are front line babysitters for parents with previous children who need someone to watch them while they're in the nicu.
The NICU Grandmothers!
Don't park your babies grandmother in the waiting area! A grandmother in the nicu can be a great help to their child or in law. The relationship must be managed a bit to make it work but it can be done. The nicu parent is in a place of hurt and pain during their child's nicu stay and will usually be in a bad place in their mind. Forgetfulness, despair, depressions and anxiety will be common behaviors in nicu parents so lashing out and bitterness can be directed at the grandmother at times. The grandmother can help if she is willing and in good standing with the nicu parent. This relational checkpoint must be established so that when feeling become overwhelming, the parent and the grandmother can stay connected. Basically, we don't want anyone to fight during this troubling situation. The preemie paradox loves to see families work together for love and support to help their family member who just had a very traumatic birth and now has a baby in the nicu! We have a list below where we outline a group of care angles a grandmother can do!
Many nicu parents want to go alone when dealing with the nicu and don't want help. Also, a grandparent can become overbearing and want to coach the parent along and treat them like a child. The problem of the nicu may be perceived by parents is that the child is the patient and will be cared for by the nicu staff and may fall out of the care opinions of the parent or grandmother!
Having anyone that can help you while you're in the nicu is better than having no one at all. But having your mom with you may be very comforting to some nicu parents! Sometimes the grandmother can't go back and forth to the nicu with you but she can feed your pets, clean the parents house, or do laundry while the nicu parents are in the nicu! If the grandmother is able to travel or possibly drive you to the nicu then she can be very important. The nicu can cause many traumatic problems to nicu parents so limiting the responsibilities of the parents will allow them to focus on what they need to do in the nicu. Also having moral support when things don't go well with your nicu baby is especially helpful having a nicu grandmother around if she can keep calm and reserve judgement. If by nothing more than getting food or running errands, a nicu grandmother can be very helpful!
NICU Grandmothers Pros vs Cons
The preemie paradox has always been pro grandma but everyone is different and we want the best experience for every nicu parent during their babies stay. Let's get one point clear here, the nicu can and will treat your baby even if the parents never come in until the baby is ready to come home. We take on this issue of nicu grandmothers only because she can be a great help if she is able and willing. This list below is our way of helping you with the criteria for consideration.
Conclusion: So what do I do with grandma?
We want every preemie parent to have the best nicu experience they can have under the circumstances. Sometimes this will include the grandmothers and other times it wont. Hopefully we give you some good information you can use to make your decisions. Just remember that sometimes a grandmother will try in the beginning and stop toward the end of your stay, or originally say no to helping in the beginning and help you toward the end or after you're out. To us, this is ok. Take help anyway you can! Just make sure you have the team you need to make the best support and transition as you can!
Where to go next? Our recommended pages!
We talk a lot about the role of the family and friends to become your support group and help center, if they are willing and capable. Here are the pages that can take you to our other content in this area.