Parenting has never been easier with all these new-fangled 21st Century gadgets. What’s a Grammie to do?
I was able to spend 11 days in this new little family’s home which is three states away from me. My role as Grammie was of course to help my daughter get acclimated to motherhood. But let me tell you – it was actually a little boring 11 days. Sure I had my share of cooking and cleaning, baby snuggling and girl-talk with my daughter. But what I realized was that in this day and age of 21st Century parenting, many of the tasks grandparents used to perform to help out with new babies are becoming outdated. Here are a few of the changes that I observed with 21st Century parenting while caring for my daughter and new grandson:
There’s An App For That
A Grammie’s job used to be helping to keep track of baby feeding times, diaper use, and sleep patterns plus the new mom’s rest and eating. Forget those paper and pen charts, safety pins on your bra, and going through the trash. There’s an app that does all that and more to make 21st Century parenting more efficient. My daughter just kept her smartphone by her side and was able to maintain accurate records for everything. Her favorite apps: Baby Nursing by American Baby Magazine for breastfeeding and Baby Center to keep track of weekly changes to make sure the baby is on target with his development.
Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age 5 was my “baby bible.” I’d go to it whenever I was confused, worried, or just wanted to stay on top of things. After three children, it got pretty dog worn from the billions of times I referred to it. It was also my go-to gift at baby showers for new moms.
With 21st Century parenting, forget the book. My daughter has Google instead. If she wants information fast, all she does is Google it and immediately she’s got a ton of resources to choose from.
Umbilical Cord Care
Do you remember swabbing your baby’s umbilical cord stump with rubbing alcohol every time you changed him/her? When I went to do my first diaper change on my grandson, I asked, “Where is your cotton balls and rubbing alcohol?” The reply: “Oh mom – they don’t do that anymore.” Apparently, using rubbing alcohol causes more irritation than it’s worth so it is no longer recommended for 21st Century parenting. This wasn’t my only piece of tried and true advice that that got shot down. So much for being relevant.
With 21st Century parenting, gone are the days of sweating it out until your next doctor’s visit or memorizing your doctor’s phone number, waiting for office hours to call. Because this was my daughter’s first baby and because she doesn’t have family close by, her doctor gave her his personal cell phone number. My daughter used it for the first time after I had been there 5 days. The baby’s left eye had been getting crusty. I told her not to worry; that happens all the time to babies. Just use a warm, damp cotton ball to gently wipe the crud away. Instead of taking my recommendation, on a Sunday, my daughter took a picture of the baby’s eye and texted it to the doctor. He replied back within an hour saying it looked infected, so bring the baby in first thing the next morning to get it checked and get a prescription. Wow- that is service!! Oh, by the way, her doctor also has a Facebook Page (of course!!)
Hot Packs For Shots
Because of having jaundice, an eye infection, and needing the standard PKU check, my poor little grandson got pricked a lot for being under 2 weeks old. How to make the best of it? Before taking any blood, the nurse would first apply a teeny tiny warm compress to my grandson’s foot. Why? So that the blood would come to the surface easier, making getting the blood samples a snap. Ingenious.
I was bummed that I couldn’t get to Utah to help out until the baby was 5 days old. And then it killed me at the end of the 11 days when it was time to go home, knowing that I would be far away again. How to make the best of a bad Grammie situation? Just get on FaceTime. I’m guarenteed an immediate baby fix, filled with lots of cooing and oohing and awing. If I can’t be in the same room, FaceTime is the next best thing.
I am in awe how parenting has changed in the 21st Century. And while these developments seem to make parenting a lot easier (and in some ways, grandparent assistance obsolete), there is one thing that can never be replaced: a Grammie’s love and cuddle. Thank heaven that will never go out of style or need to be updated.
What changes have you noticed in 21st Century parenting?