Preparing for a Baby Visit – What Grandma Needs to Know!
Top ten things a Grandma needs when your new grandchild is coming to stay!
Preparing for a baby visit is not like preparing for a royal visit. It’s much more important than that! Your new grandchild is coming to stay and you want everything to be perfect for this Very Important (Little) Person. These tips will ensure your home is a safe and welcoming environment, and will also show how you can help Mum, Dad and baby travel without stress – which means they’ll visit more often!
Preparing Baby Proofing
Safety is your first priority when preparing for a baby visit. If your grandchild is starting to crawl and explore, keep poisons out of reach. If you live in a multi level home, a barrier will make your stairs out of bounds to adventurous toddlers. Power sockets near floor level are within easy reach of toddlers, so invest in socket covers to protect them from electrical shocks. Blind cords are another potential hazard to look out for – make sure they’re well out of the way of your grandchild. Baby gates, child proof locks and even closed doors and windows will also help keep your grandchild safe. And even the most loving grandparents will not enjoy watching their expensive things being used as toys so, as part of your baby proofing, lock away that Ming vase before your grandchild arrives.
Food for Thought
If your grandchild is being bottle-fed, Mum might arrive with the bare minimum of accessories. You can help by providing essentials, like extra bottles, a steamer and bottle brushes. Many grandparents keep a supply of accessories when preparing for a baby visit and this lightens the load for a travelling family. If mum is breastfeeding, make sure there is a quiet place with a comfy chair for those late night feeds.
Prepare a Nice, Comfy & Fun Place
Prepare a comfortable space for your grandchild to relax or play e.g. a comfortable rug or rocker for baby, or a playpen for older babies. Rockers and playpens are hard to store so investigate the value of hiring or borrowing. Look for playpens that securely lock together and have no rigid surfaces. Older style playpens can catch little arms and even little faces.
The Benefits of a Travel Cot
A travel cot is a must for baby safety! The cost of buying one is probably out of the question – brands like Phil and Teds, Steelcraft and Baby Bjorn cost hundreds of dollars. There are alternatives to purchasing, and with the prices of travel cots these days, they’re worth investigating! Look for one that is easy to pop up and down, and sturdy enough to take bedtime shenanigans.
Preparing for a Little Stroll With Your Grandchild
Grandparents love taking their baby grandchildren for a walk. To make life easier for Mum and Dad, tell them to leave the pram or stroller at home and provide one yourself. While you can pick up a stroller for under a hundred dollars (just be sure to check safety ratings as some strollers topple or allow the baby to slide around!), babies require a pram for sleeping while out and about. The bad news with prams is, we’re talking hundreds or thousands of dollars for a pram from Phil and Teds and similar brands. You can hire quality prams with the added benefit of knowing the company will supply something that has been safety tested and comes highly recommended. Enjoy your stroll and before you begin, ensure that you use any harness that comes with the pram or stroller. In fact, any harness on a pram, stroller, car seat, highchair or rocker must be used, and used properly. The harness is there for a very good reason!
It can be a joy, or a screaming disaster. Yes, we’re talking bath time! Preparing for a baby visit should include a chat with Mum and Dad about what is needed for bath time, be it toys for older kids, or a seat or rest for babies. If you don’t have a bath in your home (or a large enough laundry tub!) you may need to hire or buy a baby bath. These are fairly inexpensive but bulky to store. Be sure also that your taps are in good working order so that little hands can’t scald themselves with hot water.
Sleep Well (for Grandparents and their Grandbabies!)
No matter how little, your grandchild will probably have some form of bedtime routine – from a special blanket to a complex series of bedtime steps – whatever it takes to get her to sleep, you should do! When preparing for a baby visit, ask about your grandchild’s sleeping routine and whether they require things like block out blinds, a musical toy or a mobile. By recreating their usual sleeping environment, your grandchild – and everyone else – will enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Travel Safely – Baby Car Seats
If the family have flown in to visit you, you’ll need a good quality, well-fitted car seat. All car seats available at reputable stores will meet the minimum safety standards but you should NEVER buy a second hand baby car seat as it is impossible to know if it has been through a crash (and therefore potentially unsafe). The bad news is that brands like Maxi Cosi or Safe-n-Sound can cost hundreds of dollars and then be difficult to store. Car seats can be hired cheaply from a baby equipment hire service: it’s better value for money and the staff will advise on the safest seat for your grandchild’s weight. Car Seat Hire also has the advantage of getting an expert to help you fit the seat! There are stringent laws regarding the use of child restraints in vehicles – read the section on the law and standards on child restraints on the RACV website (www.racv.com.au) as an example of how detailed these laws are. Laws regarding child restraints may differ depending on where you live, so it will pay to contact the road safety organisation in your state to ensure you will abide by the law when travelling with your grandchild. There may also be differences in the laws that relate to children travelling in taxis, so check with your local company. One final thing – always use the harness on your car seat and make sure it is properly fastened.
Preparing Pets for a Baby Visit
You’ll be thrilled to welcome your grandchild into your home but your pets might not be as keen. Consider how you’ll manage your pets when preparing for a baby visit. Cats in particular love sleeping on a warm, soft surface and your grandchild’s cot could prove irresistible; cats are also well known for taking a swipe at anything that annoys them! If your grandchild is crawling, a cat makes a fabulous object to chase! Secure a room for your grandchild to sleep and check that cuddly cats can’t sneak in when your little visitor is down for the night (or afternoon). Have a pet free area where your grandchild can play safely and consider baby gates for keeping dogs away. One other thing, if your grandchild comes from a home with no pets, there is a risk of allergies – vacuuming carefully and washing any bedding in an antibacterial solution may help.
When It’s Time For a Change (Preparing for the horror that is change time)
Changing nappies on the bed or floor is messy and unhygienic – those early months can bring unexpected “poosplosions” and active toddlers can cause a whole world of icky problems at change time. There are several portable change mats on the market of differing quality. Be sure to get one that is tougher than your grandchild though! A change table is a cleaner alternative (and can store all the change time essentials), but is large and cumbersome to store. You can get a quality change table for around $250 from most baby stores or consider hiring a change table to save money and space. As grandparents, you want to see as much of your baby grandchild as you can. By making your family’s visit relaxing and enjoyable, you’ll encourage them to keep coming back. Providing some equipment will reduce their excess luggage and stress levels, and short-term hire will lessen the cost. Making your home safe and ‘baby-ready’ is another way to make sure everyone has a good time. Remember this when preparing for a baby visit and get ready for regular visits! And of course, don’t forget to stop back here for all the best things to do in Brisbane with kids!
About the Author: Jennie Thomas tests and assesses baby and toddler equipment for her Baby Hire Melbourne company, Majestic Baby Hire. With 3 babies of her own, she’s a busy mum focused on what’s best for safety and value. Majestic Baby Hire’s selection of quality baby goods is constantly checked, thoroughly cleaned and comes to you in perfect working order at very affordable prices.