Advice for New Grandparents

Lots of Stuff You May Not Need to Know (But Then Again You Might)

Becoming a grandparent is one of the most important of life's passages. New grandparents have a lot of joy in store, but they may also have some adjusting to do. This practical advice for new grandparents and grandparents-to-be will smooth the transition into this most delightful time.

  • 01 of 12
    Anticipating the arrival of a new grandbaby is joyful for most grandparents. Photo © SelectStock | Vetta | Getty
    Your career as a grandparent begins even before your grandchild is born. From the moment when you get the good news, your actions and reactions matter. These ten suggestions for new grandparents will earn you the gratitude of the expectant parents and pave the way for a great relationship with your grandchild.
  • 02 of 12
    Baby Shower Guests
    Guests at a baby shower include the mother-to-be, grandmother, and other family members. Photo © Barry Austin | Photodisc | Getty Images

    Baby showers are an extra-special part of getting ready for a new baby. Learn shower etiquette for both parents and grandparents, as well as other things to do to make the occasion perfect. Expectant mothers might want to read this open letter from a grandmother. And if your friends want to give you a grandma shower? I have answers to some FAQs about grandmother showers.

  • 03 of 12
    grandparenting class may help grandparents enjoy their infant grandchildren
    Many grandparents feel more confident in handling infant grandchildren after taking grandparenting class. Photo © Marc Debnam | Getty Images

    Grandparents-to-be may be surprised to learn all of the ways that childbearing has changed. Best practices for caring for infants have changed, too. So is a grandparenting class such a bad idea? If nothing else, you'll score points with the parents for making the effort. Curious about what you might learn? Here's a sample curriculum. Actual classes do vary. 

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    grandparents caring for new grandbaby and grandson
    Grandparents can be a real help during a grandbaby's first year. Photo © Dean Mitchell | Vetta | Getty Images
    New parents can be overwhelmed by the changes in their lives. Grandparents can help with child care, housework, errands and other tasks. New parents are under stress, and grandparents will need to use diplomacy and tact when offering help.
    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12
    grandmother and grandbaby grandmother choosing her grandmother name
    Grandmothers usually put a lot of thought into choosing their grandmother names. Photo © LM Photo | Stone | Getty Images

    When a woman learns that she is to become a grandmother, her grandmother name becomes an immediate topic of thought and conversation. Some women decide upon one of the names that is traditional in their families, and some want something more original. For help with this big decision, take the Grandmother Name Quiz.

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    grandfathers will need to choose an appropriate grandfather name.
    Grandfathers may choose their own grandfather names or accept the ones their grandchildren give them. Photo © Chris Ryan | OJO | Getty Images
    Involved grandfathers are the rule today rather than the exception. Still, most grandfathers won't agonize about their grandfather names like grandmothers often do. For lots of good ideas about names for grandmothers and grandfathers, consult You Can Call Me Hoppa by Lauren Charpio for anecdotes and advice.
  • 07 of 12
    grandparents should look for signs of postpartum depression
    Many new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. Photo © Tetra Images - Jamie Grill | Brand X Pictures | Getty Images
    If you're a new grandparent, you are concerned with the health of the new mother as well as that of the baby. You'll need to be alert for signs of the "baby blues" as well as symptoms of the more serious postpartum depression. This article gives advice about what to look for, along with first person accounts of dealing with PPD.
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    Grandmothers are well-situated to recognize signs of postpartum depression.
    Grandmothers are well-situated to recognize signs of postpartum depression. Photo © Photographer's Choice | Getty Images
    If you think your daughter or daughter-in-law has postpartum depression, what's your next step? Here is advice on starting the conversation, helping the new mother out and seeking additional help if needed. Personal stories add valuable insights.
    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12
    lightweight travel crib is also good for a grandparent's house
    Grandparents may want some type of baby crib for their houses. Courtesy of
    As you plan for the arrival of your grandbaby, consider where the baby will nap during visits, or where he will sleep if spending the night. You have lots of choices to consider, from foldable cribs, to tent-like pods, to portable play yards. Be sure to read the safety information from the manufacturer.
  • 10 of 12
    grandmother with baby in high chair
    Grandparents may want a high chair or other baby chair for their homes. Photo © Ruth Jenkinson | Getty Images
    Perhaps you want an old-fashioned high chair, or perhaps you want something smaller or more portable. The range of choices in chairs for your new grandbaby will boggle your mind. Here's help in choosing just the right chair for your grandchild and for your house.
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    special needs grandchild
    Grandparents can be vital in the lives of special needs grandchildren. Photo © JoseLuisPelaez | Getty Images

    When grandchildren have special needs, grandparents are challenged to be special as well. There's a great deal that grandparents can do, but they must remember to follow the lead of the parents. is a good book to consult. Being a grandparent of twins or multiples can also be challenging.

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    books about grandparenting
    Grandparents will need to set aside a special shelf for grandparenting books. Courtesy of

    There are quite a few good grandparenting books out there, but these have been short-listed because they are true stand-outs. Every one won't be a fit for every grandparent, but you are guaranteed to find some of interest.