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A Mother With Daughter Who Just Had A Baby.

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!

Parent Problems

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!

Probable Solutions

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.  

Pro Grandma

  • History with the parent makes troubleshooting easier when the parent is emoting in a particular way that the grandma can see! In healthy relationships, the mother daughter bond is good so the grandmother to the baby is also taking in the situation and may have a more level head going forward in the nicu!  
  • A babies grandmother can help make outside obstacles get done by your support team. The nicu parent still needs their groceries bought, laundry done, yard mowed and other things done so the nicu parent can go see their kids in the nicu.
  • The grandmother can be a great sounding board when you need a ear to hear you out when things aren't going well. Sometimes a nurse or doctor can be a bit mean or say some things that are taken bad by the parent and it would be nice to have someone there who can calm you down.
  • Grandmothers who have been right beside you in the nicu can be the perfect babysitters later when you get out of the nicu. It's hard to find qualified people to help you when you have a medically fragile child and you must take up your daily responsibilities.  Imagine a nicu parent trying to explain how to change out oxygen tanks or cleaning tracheostomy tube to a babysitter.

Grandma Cons

  • It may be hard for some grandmothers to resist the urge to compare the nicu baby to their own birthing experience. A nicu baby is akin to a dish that would cook in the oven, but it was removed early to finish in the microwave. Some grandmas cannot separate the two birthing stories and become a problem of opinion to the nicu parents. 
  • We have heard of grandmothers who believe their child should just toughen up and get over the expectations of their situation. This browbeating and bully tactic is used to belittle the parent into acting different but the ptsd caused by the nicu can cause the relationship to suffer into the future of the child. 
  • We all have lives of our own and grandmothers may not have the leisure to just take off and taxi the parents around. Most grandmothers still work and have things to do so they may feel held hostage to demands to help more than they can provide. 
  • Life changes and some grandmothers just don't feel they should have to help you deal with the added stress of the nicu. Let's face it, many grandmothers have did their time and don't want to be bothered with more baby duties when there are other more qualified to help.
Grandmother Getting To Hold Nicu Baby In Isolette.

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.

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