Grandparents Play an Important Role in Breastfeeding
The Magic of Sharing Wisdom
Each new grandchild is a jewel in a grandparent’s crown. And when your children become parents themselves, they turn to you for advice and wisdom. They value your experience when they make their decisions about how to take care of your grandchildren. This is especially true when it comes to feeding their newborn babies.
How Grandparents Can Help?
Our grandmothers used to tell us to take 40 days to rest after the birth of a new baby. While new mothers do not need a full 40 days, special foods, or to avoid the outdoors, they still need plenty of help the first few weeks.
Here is how you can help:
- Help with housework and cooking to give mom and baby time alone to get to know each other.
- Help limit the number of visitors and visiting time.
- New moms do need plenty of rest and fluids!
- Change your grandchild’s diapers. Bathe and dress him. Sing and talk. If you see your grandchild searching for mom’s breast, sucking his fist, or making sucking noises, take him to mom for a feeding. Let only mom feed the baby!
- Some new mothers experience pain when they first breastfeed. Their breasts may become engorged, or the baby may not latch on correctly. A breastfeeding counselor from WIC or the TN Breastfeeding Hotline (855-4BFMOMS) can help. And you can offer support and encouragement to stay with it!
- Look at your grandbaby’s tiny fist and remember - that is about the same size as her stomach! Newborn babies will need to breastfeed often, every 1½ to 3 hours, around the clock.
Mom’s early milk, called colostrum, is there from the beginning and is the only food her new baby needs.
Colostrum’s special role is to help her newborn stay healthy. It is filled with important vitamins, minerals, proteins, and antibodies to protect against infection. Between the third and fifth days after birth, mom will start to feel fullness in her breasts, indicating her milk has come in.
Do not give the baby water or formula in the first weeks.
Feeding the baby anything other than breast milk interferes with mom’s milk production.
Let Her Know What a Proud Grandparent You Are!
You know how valuable breastfeeding is for babies. So be sure to let your grandbaby’s mom know you support her breastfeeding. When you do, you show your love and pride for your daughter or daughter-in-law for making such an important, healthy choice.
Your daughter or daughter-in-law has everything she needs to successfully breastfeed her baby. Be sure she gets her rest and lots of nutritious meals. You can reassure her that the baby is getting plenty of milk in a number of ways:
- Baby is interested in feeding every 1½ to 3 hours, around the clock.
- Baby wakes to feed.
- Mom can see or hear her baby swallowing.
- Baby appears satisfied and content after feeding.
- Mom’s breast softens during the feeding.
Some Things Never Change: Nothing Is Better Than Breast Milk!
- Breast milk is easier to digest. Breastfed babies have less diarrhea, constipation, and colic.
- Breast milk contains antibodies to fight infections.
- It may reduce the baby’s risk of becoming obese, having diabetes, and developing other diseases.
- It lowers the risk of asthma, allergies, and certain cancers.
- Breast milk contains special ingredients to promote brain growth.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms
Breastfeeding is best for the mother too! It helps mom’s uterus shrink to its pre-pregnancy size. Mom loses weight faster. And it reduces your daughter’s or daughter-in-law’s risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
How will I know my grandbaby is getting enough?
Sometimes you might worry that your grandbaby is not getting enough milk. You can be assured that the baby is getting plenty of milk in a number of ways, including counting the number of wet diapers and poops. The color, texture, and frequency of your breastfed grandbaby’s poops will change as your grandbaby grows.
Your grandbaby may have more than 6 poops per day after the first week! Do not worry if your grandbaby loses a little weight in the first few days. After about 5 days, your grandbaby should gain 4–8 ounces or more per week with breast milk. After 6 weeks, the number of dirty diapers may decrease.