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(25 Posts)
nanaofone Fri 28-Sep-12 20:19:43

our son and his wife had a baby 22 days that time we have seen the new arrival for less than 8 hours in total, given that they live less than a mile away. they were in hospital for almost a week, because they developed an infection. they had taken advice from nct, where they were advised to limit visitors to half an hour, so they would bond with their baby. we were told to only ring on their mobiles, so that if they were dealing with the baby we would not be disturbing them. ok. we did all of this. we now feel that any "bonding" that we could do with the little one is out of the window. today our son told us that his wife had been to the local mall with the baby with several of her friends. are we being unreasonable to think that, maybe, we should be able to visit this baby, who is our first grandchild? are we expecting too much, or are we being paranoid that our daughter in law is pushing us out as far as she can do? other grandparents in this situation, help. please.

Littlenellie Fri 28-Sep-12 20:28:01

Given the fact that your DIL is out with friends I can understand how pushed out you must feel,are you able to tell your son how hurt and pushed out you feel,that others have seen your grandchild before you is harsh,this is definitely a softly softly time,but I can see how you would feel congrats on your grandchild ,it is always more difficult when it is a sons child flowers xxxx

Lilygran Fri 28-Sep-12 20:29:26

They may be feeling incompetent and anxious about demonstrating that to you. Sticking to the letter of the NCT law bears this out. I never had to deal with this but saw our eldest grandchild much less than we would have liked because they lived quite a long way off and we were both working full time. We've seen a lot more of all the grandchildren since they were older and the bonding doesn't seem to have been affected. If you're prepared to be available for baby-sitting you may find you get to see an awful lot of him/her and any subsequent children. Or couldn't you just turn up on the doorstep bearing gifts and promises?

annodomini Fri 28-Sep-12 20:31:54

Have you asked to see the baby or are you waiting to be invited? When will the NCT and other gurus realise that babies are born into families? In the days of the extended family, a baby would be surrounded by grannies and aunties helping mum out, right from the start. I just wonder if some of these couples who 'bond' with the baby so zealously in the first few weeks will be among the ones we hear about in these forums who later depend on free childcare from nearby grandparents when it suits them.

LaGrandeDuchesse Fri 28-Sep-12 20:45:27

Don't have GCs yet but suspect that taking tiny baby to mall will soon pall. I found with mine you'd hardly got there before it was time for feed/nappy change or baby was just grizzly and i felt guilty.

I'm sure the babysitting requests will come soon.

You could offer to pick up some stuff from the supermarket or something for her, if she is too busy with baby, or babysit if that suits better and see what she says.

Ana Fri 28-Sep-12 21:03:41

I agree with LaGrandeDuchesse. It's early days yet and your son and DIL will only just be adjusting to the changes to their lifestyle. Surely it's never too late to bond with a grandchild? Lots of grandparents don't live near enough to be able to see their GC often - I'm sure your DIL will soon realise how great a help and asset you could be, nanaofone.

nanaofone Fri 28-Sep-12 21:08:53

thanks nanas. we love our son dearly, and as to be expected, he is besotted with the baby. we do not like to tell him exactly how we are feeling, as we do not want to cause him angst, as he is back at work, and we understand that his priorities are working and his new family. we have offered dil to shop, but she does not want us to. it has been made clear to us that we cannot just turn up on the doorstep, whatever reason. we try not to interfere, but we do miss time with the new little one. i agree when it is a son it is more difficult. mothers of daughters do not seem to have these sort of issues.

whenim64 Fri 28-Sep-12 22:10:31

It won't be long before safe hands are wanted for babysitting and grandparents fit the bill nicely. Much better and more reliable than mates at the shopping mall. Get the baby a little present or some packs of nappies, and a bottle of wine for mum and dad, and nip round when they are both at home. Tell them you're not stopping long, but you've got baby pangs and need a nana cuddle. Bonding won't be affected by missing out in the first month. I hovered over two incubators for 9 weeks, waiting to get close to my little grandaughters, and we are well bonded, I can promise you.

wisewoman Fri 28-Sep-12 22:57:28

22 days isn't very long. Can you remember being a new parent - getting to grips with lack of sleep and all the responsibility. I am sure they just need time to be a family themselves. I thought there was a lot of pressure on my generation of mums and dads to "get it right" but I think there is even more nowadays. As others have said it won't be long before babysitting is needed and you will get plenty of cuddles. In the meantime just let them know that you are there and are happy to do whatever you can to help. But I repeat it is early days. Bonding won't be an issue I am sure. Just hang in there.

Greatnan Sat 29-Sep-12 07:29:43

I was living abroad when many of my gc were born, and I have never had a problem with bonding with them. Just give it time. I know I would not have liked my MIL coming round without notice - I would be on pins in case the house was not tidy enough!

Nanban Sat 29-Sep-12 09:26:15

What sort of relationship have you had with your DiL up to the pregnancy I wonder?

Just now the baby is too small, and too young to have a personality to relate to, and will be unaware of the surroundings to a great extent. Don't worry, the first time you hear he/she say nanna your heart will be grabbed and from then on you will have a very special relationship regardless of whatever else happens in that little life.

FlicketyB Sat 29-Sep-12 11:25:59

When my first child was born I was quite relieved that my mother lived 40 miles away. I loved her dearly and she was not a domineering woman but I knew that in her worry and concern for me and her first grandchild she would be giving me 'good advice' all the time and at a time when I was finding my feet and knew my baby care methods would be very different to hers I wanted to do it on my own and with DH.

Fortunately DH's parents also lived a distance and we were able to make sure that both had equal access time so everything went smoothly

nanofone, what access is DS & DiL giving her parents? Do they live close? Is her mother being also being kept at a distance? Her relationship with her parenst may be influencing your relationship with the baby.

Sometimes when you are a new mother and so concerned with your new family member and establishing yourself as a family with children you do not think about other family members feel. Looking back I can see and regret that at times my parents felt excluded from our lives but it was never intentional adn it is only now I am a grandparent with a DS & DiL who have a highly inclusive attitude to family and close friends that I realise what I did.

GillieB Sat 29-Sep-12 17:36:01

When my DD had her first baby nineteen months ago we saw them both at least once a week - probably more - before she went back to work. My DIL had her first baby in June; they also live close but I guess we only see them once every two to three weeks. I do know, however, that she sees her mother several times a week. It does hurt a bit, but I think it's only natural that DIL would be drawn to her mother at this time. We will be having DGD a day a week when she goes back to work next year and sometime soon I will be suggesting that we need to see DGD more often so that she becomes used to us. My DS did ask this week if we would babysit while DIL goes to do a baby first aid class next month and of course we said yes. Try not to let it upset you; just keep on offering to do all you can for your DIL.

JessM Sat 29-Sep-12 18:43:37

Nanaphone I agree, you'll bond in time. This is not an issue. When my DIL had her second I did loads and loads of washing for them and spent far more time doing that than cuddling baby. Offers of washing/ironing might be gratefully received.
Also, if she is breastfeeding, remember that young women can be very self conscious about doing it in front of others, particularly FILs. And they don't like having to go and hide in their own houses. Takes a few months for them to sort this one so that they know how to manage discretely and feel less awkward. 3 weeks is no time .
It's tough I know, as I have posted before, to recognise that we are bit part players in the drama when our children become parents. It is about them not us and it is a hard lesson to learn.

harrigran Sun 30-Sep-12 01:00:14

DH and I are the only family close enough to DS and DIL so we were there to help after the births and to babysit. When the first GC was born I asked if we could visit once a week so that the baby was comfortable with me handling her. I have looked after the babies while parents were away for the weekend and never had tears or any problems, they are totally used to us. Maybe your DIL is quite young and feels she needs to prove herself, my DIL was in her mid thirties and was happy to accept help.
When a babysitter is required you will soon be in demand.

Nelliemoser Sun 30-Sep-12 04:38:42

I am 50 miles away from newborn 2+ days 1st GS. My DD and SIL want to be left alone as far as they can to get well bonded. I can sort of see their point as they can relax around baby, stay in bed all morning if they have had a bad night etc, without feeling they are being rude.

I have so far offered DD any support they want and that I will come over anytime if needed. They are on their 2nd night home! DD did suggest I went later in the week and SILs mum has offered me a bed to stay over at as they have little spare room. I think though as SIL is on paternity leave for two weeks they will be ok. At present the euphoria of having a new baby is outweighing the sheer exhaustion.

I think the situation with a DIL could be a lot more sensitive. If my DS and partner ever produce I can particularly see this could be a real problem. That's knowing his partner who can be a bit "off" at times. Not helped that they live about 200 miles away.

Like others I don't feel your bonding with GC necessarily be a problem. Its a question of how much contact you get further on. I hope it works out.

Grannyknot Sun 30-Sep-12 11:02:42

I remember keeping my MIL and even my own mum at a bit of a distance when my first baby was born (got over it by the time the second one came!) mainly because I was immature and inexperienced and I guess I wanted to prove I could take charge. Once both grans did get involved, they were smitten by their grandson and it was mutual until the day they died. Also I know to my own children, showing off their babies to their peers and circle of friends would be very important too. I too hope it works out and you can enjoy your grandchild.

Movedalot Sun 30-Sep-12 11:25:26

I wonder how many visits that 8 hours includes. Perhaps you have stayed a bit too long on some visits? I do think that the 1/2 hour visit is enough when the baby is so new.

Maybe your DiL has heard of MiLs who have taken over and is worried that you might do that?

Don't worry about the bonding, we have done that long distance without a problem.

Perhaps you could ask if there is a best time to visit? I think you do have to do it on their terms.

Maybe you could keep in touch with brief phone calls? If she is feeding when you call then you would need to be very understanding and suggest you call back in 1/2 hour?

good luck

glammanana Sun 30-Sep-12 11:50:50

I can see some problems arising with one of my future DILs she does not like DS1 to visit by himself as she is very concious that any conversation we have may include her although they are not planning any babies as yet her mother is already organising who will be child minding when and if a child is born so her DD can go back to work,she has included me in this rota (don't remember being asked)other DSs partner is so so different she ask's my advice even down to the colours she choose's for her bedding and soft furnishings so we get on very very well
nanaophone I would just at the moment enquire a couple of times a week how baby and DIL are I would tend to text rather than ring you may just ring at the wrong time ie: feeding/bathing or resting,as to your DIL going to the mall with her pals first time mums do want to compare their experiences of birth and development of their babes with one another so don't take it as a personal stance against you they all do it.Give them time and when they are feeling more confident they will no doubt be on the phone booking you in for baby-sitting

gracesmum Sun 30-Sep-12 11:54:55

Most of us seem to be agreed that this need not be a problem and I think grannyknot has got it. You can appear confident and relaxed with your friends, but your M or MIL can be a different ballgame! However much we try to hold back, we can too easily crowd our DDs and DILs.
As I recall 8 hours in 22 days is probably more than we had with either DGS, but who's counting? 3 weeks is not that long - I was still in a dressing gown 23 hours out of 24 up to 6 weeks when ours were babies and I was sure the "grannies" disapproved! Families vary so much on how hands-on they want GPs to be. Is it possible that your granny friends spend more time with their grandchildren and you feel you are being left out? Bide your time, continue to offer shopping/ironing if you are sure that won't be construed as DIL not coping (it's a minefield!) but be patient. I agree about not calling unannounced - your DIL could be feeding, enjoying her baby, catching up with chores or even having a nap. This little family needs to establish itself and your place in it will be assured - just be patient! And congratulations on your new little grandchild. Do we have a name?

Mishap Sun 30-Sep-12 11:59:47

I think the offer to take their laundry away is a good idea - a positive gesture that does not seem demanding. I am sure it will all come out in the wash over time!

POGS Sun 30-Sep-12 12:19:55


I am not going to say anything negative nor positive because the situation will play itself out as it goes. I will however say that I would be suffering with the same anguish, concern and heartache as you are obviously experiencing. I hope things turn around for the better soon.


JessM Sun 30-Sep-12 13:21:36

I was thinking about your post nanaofone - I understand you are disappointed. But you sound resentful and a bit angry as well. I would advise you to get over those feelings as they could sour your future relationship.
The NCT are I suspect concerned about dads bonding. They can easily be pushed out by keen competent grans and this can have a damaging effect on both the marriage and the father-child relationship. Might help to bear that in mind.

gracesmum Sun 30-Sep-12 14:03:18

I have been thinking more about this especially the DD going to the shopping mall with her friends and I wonder if nanaofone, you are feeling a bit "pushed up" the generation ladder? I see my DD with her "mummy friends" and remember how important they were to me when ours were little - more so than our parents. No one likes to feel marginalised, but there is no denying that moving up the generation ladder can be hard to take at times. If this is your first grandchild it is not easy to take a back seat and accept that there is a new family and your role in it has changed.
There is a new "Mum" and a new "Dad" and however much we want and need to bond with our grandchildren, they are not our babies.
I do counsel patience, it will come right in the end but be aware of how unsure of herself and sensitive your DIL might be feeling at the moment (post natal depression in its various forms is so common) She needs to get used to being a mum in the way you want to get used to being a granny. flowers

jeni Sun 30-Sep-12 14:45:33

My DD rather shut me out at first, but now if there is any problem I'm the first she phones. I also see more often than I ever have since she left home (for the second time)confused