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Reprimanded (Gently) for Letting My 2-Week-Old Grandson See My Face When Parents Want Him to Go To Sleep

(108 Posts)
NewGrannyInTX Wed 13-Oct-21 05:57:25

Visiting my new grandson and his parents the other day, the little guy was awake while his dad with holding him, and I was looking into the baby's face, smiling at him and talking to him softly - he was wide awake and I hadn't seen him in a couple of days. Apparently, his mom and dad were trying a new technique to get him to fall asleep, which involved not having him look at faces.... This was a new one on me. And they didn't tell me anything about this in advance, so I was taken aback for essentially being reprimanded for looking at the baby. Really???? I have made it a point to ask them how they want things done (I will become his caregiver when mom and dad go back to work), and this caught me off guard. And honestly, hurt my feelings a bit since it came out of the blue without telling me about it ahead of time. I do plan to tell them to clue me in if they are doing something new, so they don't spring something like that on me again. As a new parent myself, I set boundaries with my own parents that they balked at (like not smoking cigarettes around the baby), but never saw this one coming... I guess I'm looking for some re-assurance that this was indeed over-the-top - or some enlightenment if I am truly behind the times in what to expect.

BlueBelle Wed 13-Oct-21 06:37:25

What I think is over the top is your reaction to it unless they were really unpleasant to you ?
Did they ‘tell you off’ or just say ‘don’t look at him we re trying out a new method for getting him to sleep’
It’s really not worth thinking twice about
I d think they re making a rod for their own back if they are getting him to sleep in their arms each time

Enjoy your lad and don’t take things to heart

vegansrock Wed 13-Oct-21 07:13:43

He’s 2 weeks old! Blimey, their baby their rules. He won’t be able to focus properly yet so won’t have a clue you are looking at him. Face patterns do attract babies attention so if they are trying to get him to sleep it makes sense not to try to stimulate him.

Aldom Wed 13-Oct-21 07:32:46

Morning Newgranny. I just want to say that I understand how you felt at the gentle reprimand. It happened to me once or twice when my daughter had her first baby. Although it hurt a bit I said nothing, letting the moment pass, much as you did. As first time parents I think probably we were all a bit 'touchy'. Try to put what happened out of your mind. Every generation has new ideas and this idea is a first for me. Enjoy the rest of your time with your family, especially the little boy.

Grammaretto Wed 13-Oct-21 07:36:58

I get the feeling you were hurt because of the situation, not the actual look, as if you were being excluded from DC's unusual world.
It is very early days and I would leave them to establish their own routines and sit back in wonder about rods to break backs.
A couple I once met had decided, from birth, never to put their baby into nappies. I often wonder "where are they now!". grin

M0nica Wed 13-Oct-21 08:02:23

It is amazing the rules now applied by parents to ensure the well bing of their babies. I cannot imagine how the human race has managed to grow so much given the conditions and circumstances most babies coming into the world now, not to mention the billions that have been born over the aeons of time have been born and brought up.

I can find nothing about this technique of getting a child to sleep online. It seems counter intuitive, since a child gets comfort and reassurance from seeing a familiar face, no matter how indistinct. We have a photo of me and DS when he was only a few weeks old and his eyes are fixated on my face.

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 13-Oct-21 08:10:19

Babies learn through watching faces and facial expressions, how can you not smile when looking at a child, one punishment is to not look at a child especially if they have been naughty.
However, if we ever snuck into the babies rooms we were careful not to look at them because we would smile and they would suddenly be wide awake!
If the baby is difficult to get to sleep maybe it will work, but it seems a difficult thing to do.
As Monica says there seem to be so many rules that young parents dream up, it’s a wonder our babies survived to be fairly normal adults.

Gwyneth Wed 13-Oct-21 08:14:06

The parents want you to be the child’s caregiver when they return to work so you are good enough to do that but they completely disregard your feelings which is hurtful. If they had mentioned their new technique beforehand I would have understood their reaction. It sounds as if there might be difficult times ahead for you.

Grannynannywanny Wed 13-Oct-21 08:22:20

I’ve not heard of this technique but then my youngest gc is 6. I often think when I’m shopping how sad that babies and toddlers never see another face to interact with and read expressions with everyone masked including their parents. Little ones born since the start of the pandemic know nothing else.

It seems a shame if it’s now “a thing” to avoid letting them look at your face at chosen times at home as well.

BigBertha1 Wed 13-Oct-21 08:26:52

You wonder how we ever brought a baby up don't you. I used to sing my grandson to sleep, he looked at me all the time and slid off to sleep nicely. I'm sorry it upset you NewGrannyinTX.

gmarie Wed 13-Oct-21 08:29:35

Eye contact is engaging and will often make a drowsy baby fight to stay awake. The poor parents are probably exhausted and may have reacted a little snappishly.

Lucca Wed 13-Oct-21 08:35:39

Storm in a teacup . Seriously, forget about it and move on! “I hadn’t seen him in a couple of days”, wow, he’s 2 weeks old.
Try thinking how lucky you are to be close enough to see him so often!

Germanshepherdsmum Wed 13-Oct-21 08:37:29

This is such a trifling thing. Move on!

Franbern Wed 13-Oct-21 08:49:46

Parents need to lay down their own rules and anyone else caring for their babies/children must abide by them.
Anything that helps to get baby to sleep, particularly during those early months - can only be good. -(well, perhaps not some of the more old fashioned methods involving drugs or gas rings!!!)-.
When my eldest g.daughter was a baby (and I was her secondary carer), I had a method where I held her in my arms with a blanket around her, and gently rocked her as I walked about - she always tucked her little fingers round the locket I wore around my neck. She would fall asleep within 10 minutes with this method. When we were all out, and it was her sleep time, her Mum would often just hand her over to me to use this method. She liked it, baby liked it - and I loved it.
I still have a great relationship with this particular g.child - even now she is at University!!!

Hithere Wed 13-Oct-21 08:53:59

I agree with lucca and bluebelle

Were you told not to look at baby and why or yelled at?
By gently, I am thinking the former.
I agree with parents. No need to stimulate a baby when trying to put him to sleep

Honestly, if you feel hurt for such a small thing, being the baby's caregiver may not be a good idea.
You will be informed plenty of times how not to do things by the parents.
Are you sure you are ready not to be resentful when getting feedback?

Lizzie72 Wed 13-Oct-21 08:56:05

I am lucky as I see several of my grandchildren quite frequently - but my neighbour has a grandchild in NZ she has not yet seen (and she is uncertain if she will ever see him, as she is elderly and frail) - so treasure this time you have and don’t make problems where there are none.

Hetty58 Wed 13-Oct-21 08:56:38

NewGrannyInTX, two weeks old - with (probably) exhausted, over anxious parents, and maybe an overenthusiastic granny, all a bit bonkers!

Baby will wake and sleep when he wants at that age anyway. It's a waste of effort, we know, but mum and dad will desperately try to take charge, to establish a 'routine'. (It's pretty terrifying when a tiny being rules the roost.)

He'll soon fall into his own pattern of waking and sleeping - and they'll claim full victory for it!

I expect it was the sharp sting of being reminded that they are in control (yeah, right) that shocked you.

We're just not used to being put in our place, us grannies. It's all very funny, remember that!

eazybee Wed 13-Oct-21 09:03:54

It seems quite daft to me;: his dad was holding him but he wasn't allowed to look at faces.
Why not tuck him up in his bed and leave him to drift off to sleep?

Grammaretto Wed 13-Oct-21 09:08:37

All this baby talk inevitably triggers a reminder of the delightful French film/documentary : Babies which follows 4 babies from birth to one year from around the world with all the customs entailed.
The babies themselves at one year are more alike than different, despite their diverse beginnings.

Shelflife Wed 13-Oct-21 09:11:40

NewGrany, please don't take this to heart. New parents , they are probably very tense and tired! I agree it would have been better if they had warned you of their ideas, regarding getting the baby to sleep. Although I am not sure I agree with their method. At two weeks , a good feed and proper winding, warmth and comfort it usually sufficient. You say you will be the baby's care giver , how much of your time will that involve? I have always done day care for my GC , only one day a week for each child. Both daughters trusted me implicitly, and there were no rules dished out to me. As the children grew into toddlers they understood that there were rules / boundaries at Grandma's that may differ from parental rules. It worked well and the children just accepted it. They are new parents and probably very idealistic ! Just go with the flow . Enjoy your new role but please don't fall into the trap of being too clingy , it's very easily done. Congratulations and good luck.

VioletSky Wed 13-Oct-21 09:11:47

This is a new one on me but I can see how it makes sense as I remember mine struggling to keep their little eyes open and focused on me.

Try not to take it personally, there will probably be lots of things they do differently and I am sure it will just wash over you in time.

Shropshirelass Wed 13-Oct-21 09:16:38

They needn’t have said anything then and explained what they were trying another time. It is important for babies to soak in their surroundings, at two weeks they sleep anyway. They are being a bit OTT I think. I knew someone who was having sleep therapy for her baby as it didn’t sleep, the baby wasn’t the problem it was the neurotic mother. They should take a leaf out of ‘Our Yorkshire Farm’, now that is how children should be brought up.

Peasblossom Wed 13-Oct-21 09:20:33

Oh dear, I know you won’t like this but…

How many times have you been round in these first two weeks?
You mention not having seen him for a couple of days.

His Dad is holding him. He having time with his dad but you are the one getting the baby’s attention. Maybe his dad felt it was his time with his son?

I really don’t want to upset you further, but please consider it possible that you are overwhelming them. It might feel you are already taking possession?

DiscoDancer1975 Wed 13-Oct-21 10:18:13

I must admit I haven’t heard this one!! I’ve been a grandparent for nine years, and believe me, there’s more of these oddities out there?.

However, he is their child...their rules. You just have to go along with it, no matter how daft it sounds, unless you feel it’s bordering on being detrimental. does sound like they could have prepared you better...but short of giving you a list, and possibly still missing something, most things are going to be spontaneous.

Enjoy your little grandchild, don’t be pushy in any way. Let them parent, just as we did, without interference.

Lucca Wed 13-Oct-21 10:52:05


It seems quite daft to me;: his dad was holding him but he wasn't allowed to look at faces.
Why not tuck him up in his bed and leave him to drift off to sleep?

It’s their choice