It used to be that a grandparent’s role was to coo at the baby and roll his or her eyes at mom’s newfangled parenting ideas. Not so much anymore.
More grandparents-to-be want to be helpful and up to date, and they’re willing to show up to class to prove it. Grandparent workshops and classes, such as the “Grandparenting 101” course at the Medical Center of Plano in Texas, are popping up across the country.
At Yoga Works in Westlake Village, Calif., yoga instructor and birthing educator Robin Gruver says that a growing number of moms-to-be are bringing their mothers or mothers-in-law to her prenatal yoga classes. “Much of the class is about sharing,” Gruver says. “Women talk about what’s going on in their pregnancies as well as their concerns.”
Many expectant moms today desire a stronger mental connection to their pregnancies in addition to wanting to stay in shape, Gruver explains, and this generation of grandparents recognizes that. Participating in the classes, she adds, “is a chance for grandparents to take part in the pregnancy in a meaningful way.”
In Los Angeles, The Pump Station & Nurtury’s seminar, “Grandparents, Wine & Wisdom,” papas- and nanas-to-be enjoy a little vino while learning effective ways to comfort a baby, safe sleep positioning and more, in addition to breastfeeding know-how.
“Their generation probably left off with Dr. Spock, and now we know so much more,” says Corky Harvey, M.S., R.N., I.B.C.L.C., lactation educator and co-owner of The Pump Station. Exposing grandparents to breastfeeding is one of her favorite parts of the evening. “Many grandparents didn’t breastfeed their kids, but when they leave here, they really get it,” she says. “Which means they can be enormously helpful to new parents.”
Even more than the knowledge they glean, the biggest perk might be a stronger family bond. Says Gruver, “When grandparents share in the incredible experience of pregnancy, the by-product is a deeper connection that affects the whole family.”