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Tip-toe-ing around new baby

(71 Posts)
sandra Thu 12-Jan-12 10:45:04

My DS and his partner have a new baby, 8 weeks old (our 1st GC) who we all adore!
When they are at home baby doesn't go back to his cot to sleep during the day. He plays on his baby gym and if he falls asleep they tuck him up and he snoozes happily there. He has slept through the night from the first day home so I guess doesn't need much sleep during the day.
However, when they come to ours, say for dinner in the evening, the sit him in his little baby seat where he may nod off for a few minutes. During this time they seem to expect us all to tip-toe around and speak in whispers which I think is unreasonable as well as impractical. My other son and my DH are not quiet people and just don't do quiet! Whilst they were with us last night my other son was told by baby's mum, "He's trying to sleep!" and my son said to baby, for our benifit obviously, "Did Grandad slam the door and wake you up?" The atmosphere was a little strained and I don't feel I should have to feel like this. It's my house after all! By the way we all get on well normally. What to do?.....

bagitha Thu 12-Jan-12 13:19:03

I think we mature grans should be able to cope with feeling a bit awkward in our own homes when there's a new baby in the picture. Just try to remember how it felt to be trying to get it all right first time and other people giving ENDLESS advice. And it has got worse. There are far too many shoulds and shouldn'ts where babies are concerned. Is it any wonder new mums are a bit fragile and snappy sometimes?

supernana Thu 12-Jan-12 13:20:41

Annobel My three DiL make their own rules and do a marvellous job of raising their offspring. I've been tempted to give advice from time to time but choose to keep my opinions to myself. On the rare occasions when my opinion has been sought, I feel comfortable about saying 'In my experience...'

bagitha Thu 12-Jan-12 13:21:25

I didn't read up at all when I was pregnant. In fact I avoided "reading up" like the plague. My view was that, with a bit of commonsense and intelligence, I should be able to get it right enough by instinct. Given the results, it looks as if I did.

Carol Thu 12-Jan-12 13:25:46

If only everyone managed it with common sense and intelligence. I have seen some intelligent women do barmy things like propping bottles of milk in the pram then going off to leave a new baby to feed itself - frightening.

bagitha Thu 12-Jan-12 13:29:20

Frightening indeed, and definitely not intelligent. But the babies survive nonetheless. confused smile

JessM Thu 12-Jan-12 13:32:42

It depends on your relationship with the new mum, whether they are obviously seeking your opinion.
I didn't mean never offer your opinion but it does depend - and I was specifically thinking about new mums who are very sensitive. And sleep in particular is a very personal thing that they have to negotiate between the 3 of them - mum, dad and baby.

gracesmum Thu 12-Jan-12 13:34:07

The only thing I would add is about being made to feel "guilty" in your own home - it is hard enough being a grandparent without having blame attributed especially unfairly! They ARE new parents and therefore I might make allowances, but babies who can only sleep in total silence are going to be a problem later! I would ask"Where would you like him to sleep?" and if they really want silence, then an impromptu nursery in a quiet corner or spare room it is. I remember being advised to put my newish baby beside the (then) record player, turned well up in the early days so that she would sleep through anything in the future!

sandra Thu 12-Jan-12 13:40:08

Seem to have opened a can of worms here! smile I also think somewhere in the middle is best. We all know our own families and how they will take things. In my case my son listens to advise (which is very carefully given) but I think my DIL maybe would be a little on the defensive side so don't say much there. I did say to my son last night, in a light-hearted way, that they wouldn't get a lot of quiet for baby if he was downstairs (we're open plan) so maybe he'll sugest they do something different next time. Think he's a little worried about upsetting DIL also! wink

jingl Thu 12-Jan-12 13:48:34

I have only got daughters, so far. Wouldn't hesitate to advise them. Suppose a daughter-in-law might be different. But I would probably put my two ha'pence worth in.

My grandchild.

jingl Thu 12-Jan-12 13:49:27

I would do it very nicely. smile

Carol Thu 12-Jan-12 14:06:06

I think we may have different experiences bagitha. When babies are clearly thriving and practices are different because we are from another generation, we have to bite our lip and acknowledge that this is how they do it now. Parents don't have to bone up on the latest research to be able to care for their children at a good enough level. But if I see something happening, that if continued could amount to neglect (and I have seen some worrying things over the years), it wouldn't be fair to the child to say nothing. I would rather risk a bit of frostiness from the parent than ignore it.

Having said that, I do have to tread on eggshells sometimes, and will usually take a step back to see if the parents have worked out what to do for the best first. When I was a new mum, I was in awe of my MIL's patience and tried to emulate her, but her sister was a pain in the backside - she was a health visitor who insisted on preaching at me every time she walked through the door. I switched off and ignored even the good advice she was offering, because she was domineering.

sandra Thu 12-Jan-12 14:15:24

I think we can safely say that the relationship between MIL/DIL is a very complex one and must be handled with extreme caution! wink
My own MIL was fab and because I loved and respected her I was always happy to take her advise. I always try to think of her when situations arise like

Annobel Thu 12-Jan-12 14:16:24

The last person I would have taken advice from was my MiL, not that she ever ventured to give it. I asked my mum sometimes and my sister-in-law, who had three daughters already. I must have been an opinionated pain in the a.... but I do have two very nice, friendly, generous and caring DSs, so I must have muddled through somehow.

bagitha Thu 12-Jan-12 14:23:49

I expect so, carol. I get the impression you have a wider experience than I do and I'm lucky enough in my daughter and son-in-law that I could not wish for better parents for my grandson. Somehow the differences between us in details of parenting just don't seem to matter.

Now, my gardening efforts have brought on an asthma blergh, so I'm going to lie down for a bit.

Carol Thu 12-Jan-12 14:46:42

Hope you feel better soon bagitha. It is nice to be able to get out in the garden at this time of year.

Annobel Thu 12-Jan-12 15:00:10

Oh, bags, don't overdo things. Get better quickly and take it easy, though I suspect that may not be in your nature. thanks

goldengirl Thu 12-Jan-12 15:50:47

I'm afraid I'm not one to keep advice to myself and in my house we've put babies in the next room but as there is only a partition door between our two rooms it's not overly quiet. Babies can sleep anywhere as long as they feel safe and in my house I might not do the vaccing with a baby asleep but I'd certainly not pussyfoot about and if the other GC are around I tell them not to go in the room but don't stop them playing elsewhere. I'm very lucky with my DD and DS and their partners though - they've been very sensible about this sort of thing from day 1.

supernana Thu 12-Jan-12 16:18:40

bagitha ((hugs)) please get well soon

kittylester Thu 12-Jan-12 16:43:30

I seem to have it fairly easy. Middle daughter didn't read a book at all and seems to be a natural. Eldest daughter read everything available when she was pregnant with her first so middle daughter asks her if she needs advice. I just smile, admire and cuddle.

We are awaiting the birth of our youngest daughters baby (she's nearly 38 weeks) but where is goose confused

JessM Thu 12-Jan-12 17:24:37

There are times when you have to step in. Common sense sometimes eludes new parents. I remember 13 years ago when my younger friend had her first popping round on a cool august evening when the baby was about a week old. She was the longest, skinniest newborn I had ever met (i think she's going to be 6ft) They had taken to heart the "don't overwrap your baby" advice and there she was in just a vest and nappy. Baby's extremities were blue (below knees and elbows). That's the sort of thing i mean by a health and safety risk...

jeni Thu 12-Jan-12 17:27:07

baggy asthma is horrible I know. Just try and relax and think of things liketha air air at sea, or on top of an alp. It can me, I know---

bagitha Thu 12-Jan-12 17:57:13

Thanks, jeni. That is what I do. Resting does help. Down to a dull chest annoyance now. hmm

jeni Thu 12-Jan-12 18:10:06


Pennysue Thu 12-Jan-12 19:05:21

JessM I agree there are times when you have to step in (make a suggestion) My GS was a very large baby and at about 3 months was not thriving, was miserable, did not sleep etc. I suggested he was hungry and was told they could not give solids for the first (I think at that time) 6 months. But DiL was so desperate I sent my son to the shop to get some Farleys rice made up a bottle and it was like a miracle. He took the lot and slept well for the first time. DiL carried on and it did no harm. He is now 17, 6' tall and a rugby player.

DiL would after that ask for advice if she was not sure. I never again "butted in".

As I have said before "throw away the book the baby has not read it" they are as individual as every other human.

Anne58 Thu 12-Jan-12 19:53:38

No, you are not being unreasonable, but they are!

Babies have to adapt to the world that they live in, not the other way around.

I made so many mistakes with my first, only ever put in his cot once asleep etc. Number 2 was put in awake, I would hoover (sorry, product placement, I mean vacuum) around the house, catch up with other chores, phone friends etc.

Seems like they are being far too precious.

Sorry, harsh but true, but just because you have a small baby, the world (or even the rest of your family) will not dance to your tune.

Get over it!